Tennessee's flu season likely to get worse before it peaks

Jan 15, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Get ready for an ugly flu season. It’s just getting underway, and the Centers for Disease Control reports the illness is already widespread in every state except Hawaii.

Dr. Joe Thomas is Medical Director at Stone Crest Medical Center in Smyrna. He says mid-state infection rates are already high and may get worse before they get better.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the plateau of this yet and probably will see – at least for the next three or four weeks – continued growth or at least at the same rate it is now.”

Credit cdc.gov

Dr. Thomas says the medication Tamiflu might shorten your flu by perhaps a day at most, but he also notes that it’s expensive and can have side effects. Otherwise, there really isn’t much you can do for the flu, expect treat the symptoms.

“In general most people who have the flu will do just fine with symptomatic treatment with ibuprofen or Tylenol for the fever, drinking plenty of fluids and rest.”

But keep in mind that influenza can be deadly. The State Department of Health says five Tennesseans have already died of flu complications this year, including a pregnant woman and three children. One of the children lived here in the mid-state.

Dr. Thomas says that children under two, seniors, people with chronic health problems, and the morbidly obese are all at increased risk for fatal flu complications. If you fall into one of those categories and suspect you have the flu, see your doctor right away.

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