Is the flu here already? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Is the flu here already?

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ATLANTA -

Already hearing the first coughs and sneezes that come with flu season?  One of the first places people go with sore throats and fevers is an urgent care clinic.  So, is the flu already showing up on their radar?  They say not yet, but it's coming.  

At Well Street Urgent Care, they're seeing people with upper-respiratory infections, but not confirmed flu.  They know it's just a matter of time, however.  

Dr. Nelson Yuen says when the misery hits, the miserable tend to go there first.  

"If you can't into your doctor's office, you are going to come here. So, we are absolutely going to see-- the urgent care centers will be seeing things first in a lot of respects because the urgent cares will have the availability, the night hours, Saturdays," Dr. Yuen explained.  

He says what they're seeing right now is a lot of flu-like symptoms, but no confirmed flu.  

Most urgent care clinics can run a rapid flu test to determine if you have a virus, which won't respond to antibiotics, or an infection, which might.  A lot of patients are confused about whether they have a cold or the flu.  

Yuen says with the common cold, you get a little achy but you don't have much of a fever.  He says when you have the flu, you'll have a high fever and chills.  

"It feels like someone hit you with a truck, basically," said Yuen.

Dr. Yuen says now is the perfect time to get a flu shot.

"Because it takes some time for the flu shot to work," he explained.  "Your body's immune system needs to start developing the antibodies to the flu."

If it's just a mild cold or seasonal allergies that are plaguing you, you may be able to skip a trip to the doctor and just treat your symptoms at home.  Yuen says over-the-counter drugs like Sudafed, Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritan can be helpful.

If you wake up feeling like you have the flu and can't get in to see your doctor, Yuen says there's probably an urgent care clinic in your area.  The wait time is usually about 45 minutes to an hour.  You may want to call the clinic before you go to see how busy they are.  It will probably be faster than a trip to the emergency room, but if they're busy, you may have to be patient.

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