The flu is having more of an impact on young adults in North Carolina than in years past. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the highest number of flu-related deaths statewide is in patients 25-49. That age group has experienced twice the number of deaths in the state as last flu season.
Jay Tillman’s 2-year old son, Caleb, is sick. He dodged the flu this time, but he’s had a tough battle in the past. Tillman says, “When he had the flu, I had to stay home with him. He was very tired, eyes were watery. He didn’t want to eat anything, very fussy.” He says Caleb wasn’t the only one who got sick. Tillman adds, “It (the flu) spread through the household, and all of us kind of got sick.”
Dr. Charles Bregier with Novant Health Urgent Care says, “It seems like younger people are getting it (the flu) more this year than before, and I don’t really understand why that is, but we’re certainly seeing it in children and a lot of young adults.”
Dr. Susan Wyrick with SouthPark Pediatrics says she’s also seeing more patients with the flu recently. Dr. Wyrick says, “I think the difficulty is that kids are not necessarily going to know. ‘I still need to drink fluids, I still need to go ahead and eat properly.”
Doctors say because young people have stronger immune systems, their bodies fight back harder against the flu, which sometimes makes them experience more severe symptoms. Tillman says he made sure the whole family got the flu shot this year, so that hopefully he and his wife can keep working, and Caleb can stay healthy and just be a kid.