Widespread flu cases has some concerned about treatment shortages

The flu is getting worse weeks before its usual peak.

Influenza is already widespread in two thirds of the country and many fear an increased demand for the popular treatment Tamiflu could lead to shortages.

Many came down with the flu over holiday break and now some could be bringing it to work, and it isn't a head cold.

Here in Central New York, over 700 cases have been reported so far in Oswego County alone.

Dr. Melody Mendiola says patients are asking for prescriptions for Tamiflu to shorten their illness.

"Influenza is a high fever, aching in every bone in your body a little bit of a cough it really can knock you off your feet for a good 4 or 5 days,â?? says Dr. Mendiola.

She says Tamiflu would probably shorten it anywhere from one to three days, but it needs to be taken as soon as symptoms start â?? with 24-48 hours.

If you are able to get to your clinic within a day of those symptoms coming on, you still may or may not be given a prescription.

"We want to try to make sure that we save it so that we have enough supplies and for the people that are most at risk so elderly people, people with chronic health conditions, really the people that are most at risk for being hospitalized,â?? says Dr. Mendiola.

Young, usually healthy people will likely be told to go home and rest. Dr. Mendiola says there's no shortage of Tamiflu here yet, but, she says itâ??s a pretty heavy season theyâ??ve seen a lot of people with flu symptoms.

To avoid getting the flu, doctors recommend getting a flu shot and washing your hands. Health officials urge those with flu symptoms to stay home until they are well, which is 24 hours after their fever breaks, without fever reducing medication.

(Information courtesy NBC News)