Busy emergency rooms

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Updated: 1/08/2013 6:17 pm Published: 1/08/2013 6:10 pm

The flu has a grip on the nation and Green Country. Oklahoma tops the nation for the number of cases.

Normally, Oklahoma State University Medical Center sees about 130 people a day but nurses say that number has spiked to 170. The wait times increased from 10 to 20 minutes. Doctors say the rapid cold weather in late November and December caused more people to get illnesses like the flu.

"I don't like needles," said Ray Freed.

He says he had the flu three weeks ago. Freed didn’t get the flu vaccine but he is reconsidering after he spent those weeks out of work and missing out on pay.

"I was in bed for two weeks," Freed told FOX23.

Doug Taron, a registered nurse, says the flu season hit our area hard. He blames the cold weather in late last month for the 19 cases of the flu recorded at OSU Medical Center. Last year, they only recorded 13.

"You get sick, nobody washes their hands, then a family members gets sick and then they spread it, take it to work and school and that's how it spreads on us," Taron said.

The epidemic has even made ordering flu vaccines difficult. It is ordered based on how many people are requesting the vaccine. The number spiked in December.

"The request have picked up tremendously,"Taron told FOX23.

He says the key is not waiting until the last minute.

"A lot of people try to ignore the sickness and end up getting worse," he added.

For freed, he's getting over his fear of needles.

"So you don't end up like me or dead," said Freed.

There have been two flu deaths in Tulsa County and nearly 70 hospitalizations, the highest number in the state.

Doctors are encouraging people to wash their hands. It might seem like common sense but they say people aren’t consistently doing it.

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