This year's severe mid-state flu season may be peaking

Feb 7, 2018

SMYRNA, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  One of the worst flu seasons in years may be reaching its peak, according to one mid-state medical director.

Dr. Joe Thomas heads medicine at StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna. He says a hefty percentage of the cases seen in his ER each day are now related to influenza or its complications.

“I’d say we’re beginning to get to the peak of the season and this will likely last for a couple of weeks and then begin to trend down, but we’ll still see the flu effects for another four weeks or so.”

Credit cdc.gov

The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control still shows flu widespread in all but three states.

This year’s influenza has already caused the deaths of 53 children nationwide. The largest number of those deaths have occurred here in the Southeast, including six here in Tennessee.

Dr. Thomas says roughly 25 to 30 percent of the people showing up at the StoneCrest ER are now flu patients. He says children under two and seniors over 65 or those with other health problems are most at risk.

“Usually folks who have cardiac problems or those with diabetes or those with lung problems, where the flu affects the ability to eat and drink or affects their ability to breath and they just need closer monitoring.”

Dr. Thomas says he’s thankful that his ER hasn’t seen any flu related deaths, but says hospitalizations are not uncommon.

If you suspect you’ve contracted the flu see your doctor right away.  Antiviral medications are available that can make influenza less severe and shorten its duration.