It’s not just the killer flu epidemic: Triple-threat cocktail of viruses sickening nation

Posted at 8:11 PM, Jan 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-11 20:25:50-05

As if the flu wasn’t bad enough.  Now doctors say two other viruses are piling on making this one of the sickest winter seasons they’ve ever seen.  And it could get worse before it gets better.

At Winthrop Hospital, doctors say the emergency room is overflowing with patients suffering from a number of symptoms.

“Hospitals are filled and when the hospitals are filled, sick patients in the emergency department can’t be moved up to beds,” said Dr. Barry Rosenthal of Winthrop Department of Emergency Medicine

Rosenthal says two viruses are combining with the flu to form a triple-threat… putting every healthy person at risk.

“We have the influenza.  We have the upper respiratory infection which is caused by a rhino-virus and then there’s also a stomach bug out there caused by another virus.”

Making matters worse- experts are calling this flu season one of the most aggressive they’ve seen in years.

The Center For Disease Control says, the flu is now widespread in 47 states. 20 children have already died from the virus.

In New York alone, there have been more than 15,000 reported cases.  That’s already more than three times the total number of flu cases reported last year.

And with the epidemic growing many procrastinators have been rushing to get their flu shot.

So far the government has handed out more than 130-million doses…making it difficult to find in certain areas.

The Health Map Vaccine Finder is supposed to show what places still have the vaccine.

We tried to use the website to find the flu shot in our area. PIX11  finally found the vaccine at Franwin Pharmacy in Mineloa, along with enough cold and flu medicine to last for weeks.

But owner Allen Sankovich says he can’t believe how much demand for the vaccine has increased.

“Some of the bigger stores have run out of it and one of the smaller pharmacies like this one still have it.  It’s kind of funny,” Sankovich said.

Still, Sankovich reminds people the vaccine is not 100-percent effective.

And as PIX11’s Dr. Steve Salvatore reminds us, once you get the shot you’ll still be vulnerable for a few days.

“Even if you get vaccinated today, you’re not going to be protected for at least two weeks,” Salvatore said.