Transcript for Glimmer of Hope for Flu Outbreak Across Country
those tiny glimmers of hope on the early and nasty flu outbreak. John schriffen outside a hospital in manhattan right now. John, good morning. Reporter: Dan, good morning. Here at this emergency room in new york city, the hospital says the percentage of patients they're seeing with flu-like symptoms is up five-times as many as they saw last year. But the good news around the country is that new numbers show the worst could be behind us. This morning, the flu has spread to 47 states across the country, according to the cdc, crossing the line into epidemic territory. At this hospital in minnesota, so many patients are coming in with the flu, they're packing two to a room. But as the number of cases grow, we're finally seeing a glimmer of hope. We're seeing firsthand, in some of the southern states that got hit hardest and earliest, it's starting to come down. Reporter: Still, you may not want to put away the tissue boxes just yet. Dr. Richard besser says many of us are in it for the long haul. We don't know when this is going to end. This could be the worst flu year in a decade. Reporter: What makes this year's flu season so bad, timing. The outbreak hit around thanksgiving this year. That's about a month earlier than normal. We're six weeks in and with six more to go, doctors say it's not too late to get that flu shot. A recently-released study ranks this year's vaccine as 62% effective, just moderate. More than 130 million vaccine doses have been distributed nationwide. But many people are having trouble finding them in their neighborhoods. We are being told we don't have any. You don't have any left? Okay. Reporter: How do you know if you're coming down with the flu or just the common cold? If you think about a cold, i usually infects you from the neck-up. Congestion, sinus, fullness, sore throat. The flu, you're going to feel achy all over. Reporter: If you can't find the flu vaccine at your local pharmacy, head over to flu.Gov. You can use their vaccine finder by punching in your zip code and it will tell you where to go. Dan? Bianna? It's not too late to get your flu shot right now. And our senior medical contributor, dr. Jennifer ashton is here, to talk about alternative treatments for people suffering with the flu. You're a western-trained physician. But you believe that alternative medicines actually help. I do. And in a real world you integrate withraditional medicines to complementary medicine. This is not a substitute for traditional medicine. It's in addition to. It looks like you have a war chest right there. Walk us through. This is tumeric. This is called indian cold. This is what gives curry the yellow flavor. Has been studied and found to have really strong antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. I add this to my eggs. But you can add it to soup, too. For years, we've been hearing about zinc and how effective zinc can be. Most people take zinc when they feel the common cold coming on. Much better for the cold than the flu. You can take extra when you're six. You can shorten the duration of symptoms. Do not use the nasal form. That can affect your sense of smell. And what is this right here? A netti pot? You've never used this. I'll show you later. We're talking about cleaning out the nasal passages. It can be very effective in easing that congestion. You want to use distilled water. And short-term use only. You don't want to use it every day. That can cause more problems than it helps. How about mom's favorite medicine? Mom, grandma, they were right. There's science behind it. There's a synergy or combination of ingredients in chicken soup. They don't attack the area and create more. How is that? Very effective. And it's not found with other soups. Dr. Ashton, dropping the "m" bomb on morning television. This is complementary stuff, not to replace traditional medicine. Absolutely not. And you want to tell your health care provider when you're using these. Get their flu shot. And get the flu shot and weigh the risks versus the
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