Local pharmacies running out of flu medication; Acadiana region considered one of the most "at risk"

Louisiana's climate could have something to do with the epidemic

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 4:27pm

Local doctors and pharmacists around the Acadiana area have been busy since November fighting this year's flu season.  Doctor Joseph Orgeron has been practicing medicine for five years and says besideds the h1n1 scare a couple of years back, this flu season is the worst he has seen.

"Nationwide its by far the craziest I've ever seen," says Doctor Orgeron, Family Medicine, Lafayette General.

The typical flu season peaks around mid January and lasts up until April or May, but this flu season started earlier than usual which is not a good sign for what's to come.

"So if you see a lot of flu early and you know the peak is still to come, it usually means it's going to be a longer flu season than we normally have seen," says Doctor Orgeron.

Local pharmacies are feeling the hit.  Some stores are even having to refer people to other stores for anti-viral medication.

"There have been some stores locally that have run out.  I think that's due to the flu being worse in the East, Northeast and then slowly going toward the South and West," says Joel Fruge, local pharmacist at Acadiana Prescription Shop.

Joel Fruge says the Acadiana Prescription Shop is much busier this flu season compared to last year, and that the shop is always prepared so they do not run out of anti-viral medications.

"We have always stocked up on anti-viral medications for the flu, like TamiFlu," says Fruge.

The CDC Weekly Reports show that Louisiana is among fifteen other states that has a high number of flu cases.  Pharmacist Joel Fruge says it could have something to do with the climate.

"Louisiana, we have typically more upper respiratory problems because of the molds here and the dampness of the air," says Fruge.

Upper respiratory problems do not cause the flu, but they do make flu symptoms much worse.  Fruge says we could be at a higher risk of a major flu outbreak because our immune systems are busy trying to fight off upper respiratory infections from the mold and damp air atmosphere.  Doctor Orgeron believes differently.

"I think this year it just happens that Louisiana is one of the more unlucky states," says Doctor Orgerono.

Doctor Orgeron says one of the main things he is now telling his patients is that it is not too late to get the flu shot.  He says we still have months until the flu season disapates so get a shot now and you might save yourself in the spring.

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