ROCK HILL, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Fear over the flu is causing one Rock Hill hospital to fill up quickly.
"It's a lot worse than it has been," said Edward West. "I made sure to get my shot."
This year's flu season has many like West and his 3-year-old grandson on high alert.
"We went early and made sure to get them because they said it would be a bad season," West said.
"It has hit the community pretty hard," said Dr. Arash Porusina at Peidmont Medical Center. "The hospital is full of patients from influenza."
In January alone, the Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill saw 224 flu cases compared to 55 last January and zero in 2016.
"It's one of the heaviest seasons that we've had in many years and probably one of the heaviest in the past decade," Dr. Porusina said. "The emergency rooms literally look like war zones."
Dr. Porusina says he feels like there's several facts contributing to the spike in cases:
including the flu season starting earlier, a weaker strain and even misdiagnosis by medical professionals.
He believes February will be the peak month of flu season and although the shot isn't as effective as in past year's it still provides a significant survival advantage.