Gaston County pharmacist speaks on flu season, increase in Tamiflu prescriptions

Gaston County pharmacist speaks on flu season, increase in Tamiflu prescriptions

GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - Vimal Patel, pharmacy manager at Gaston Pharmacy in Gastonia, said he has been seeing more prescriptions for flu medications in recent weeks.

“Last one or two weeks, flu season has ramped up and I’ve seen more prescriptions in the last one or two weeks as compared to November and December,” said Patel in an interview with WBTV Thursday night.

The pharmacy manager said that in the last few days, he has specifically noticed more prescriptions for the liquid Tamiflu often prescribed for children.

“I have seen a lot more prescriptions as compared to last month so it’s definitely flu epidemic going on in North Carolina. It looks like pretty similar to last year, but it is really bad,” said Patel.

State health officials say 20 adult flu-associated deaths have already been reported in North Carolina during the current flu season. 14 of those deaths were people over 65 years of age.

Officials from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention say there have been 27 pediatric flu deaths in states other than North Carolina.

Due to a surge in flu cases, several hospitals in the Charlotte area are imposing visitor restrictions.

“The goal of that is children can often carry flu-like illnesses, respiratory viruses, and often are an item for spreading, especially in kind of contained settings. So we want to protect our patients from potentially being exposed to flu and other respiratory viruses,” said Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of infection prevention at Atrium Health, in a previous interview with WBTV.

North Carolina state officials say the last two seasons have peaked in early February. Gaston County residents who spoke to WBTV Thursday night said they are trying to be extra cautious in light of the recent death of a child.

“It breaks my heart because like I said I have a newborn baby at home. Right now she’s sick too, but we going to the doctor to make sure it’s nothing too bad,” said Gastonia mother Shakila Ford.

Patel said anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should schedule and appointment with their doctor.

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