• Experts say flu season jump-started by cold November temperatures

    By: Erica Bryant


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Warm temperatures on Tuesday drove people outside, but experts said the colder temperatures back in November put more people inside in close quarters, jump starting flu season.

    "We are seeing 10-20 cases a day in urgent care every day already and it is increasing every day," said Dr. Charles Bregier.

    Bregier recorded the first cases three to four weeks ago and he said the virus hit earlier and stronger.

    "I can't say I ever remember it starting as early November as it did this year and that is why experts recommend getting flu shots in September or October because you never know when it might start and it may be bad this year," said Bregier.

    North Carolina has already recorded two adult flu deaths this season in the triad.

    Experts said the predominate flu strain this year is the same strain from 2004, the most lethal in the past 35 years with more than 48,000 deaths.

    Susannah Osborne has hear the warning and tried to get the vaccine to protect her two young children.

    "Every time I have gone they have been out," said Osborne.

    Doctors said that the key to prevention is frequent hand-washing and getting the flu shot, but some people are still skeptical.

    "I had it done a couple a years and I got the flu anyway, so I decided it doesn't work very well," said Judy Aulette, "I think the media hypes this up a lot. I think there are certain categories of people with health issues that need to be careful, but the general  population is OK."

    Bregier said it is no hype, but it is key to saving lives.

    "The flu virus is not alive, it is a killed virus inactivated. So people cannot get the flu from a flu shot," said Bregier.

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