Flu season hits Tri-Cities - WFLA News Channel 8

Flu season hits Tri-Cities

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) - Influenza is here in the Tri-Cities and in some parts of the region, the sometimes deadly virus is at severe levels.

In some parts of the region, the outbreak of the annual

In Tennessee, Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Sullivan, and Johnson counties are experiencing what experts call “moderate” levels of the flu. Hawkins county has a severe level of flu cases.

In Virginia, Washington and Smyth counties have a high level of flu cases, while Lee county has a severe level of cases.

Folks at First Assist Urgent Care in Kingsport say the flu is in full force in the Tri-Cities.

Physician Assistant Derek Darnell said, “it’s here, in the past two to three weeks, it’s steadily increased and now it’s widespread in the area.”

So widespread that Darnell said the clinic has been busy with flu patients, “that’s most of what we’re seeing now from 10 to 15 a day.”

Kim Hobart and her family didn’t get around to getting the flu shot this year. They know they’re taking a gamble. She said so far they’ve been pretty lucky.

“I don’t think I’ve had the flu since 2000. We’ve been a little bit sick, but I don’t think it was the full blown flu,” Hobart said.

She said even though the family didn’t get vaccinated, they do have a few ways of trying to ward off the flu.

“We just wash our hands a lot and take Vitamin C and Zinc and try to stay rested and stay healthy,” Hobart said.

Tips Darnell agrees can help keep the virus at bay, in addition to limiting your contact with people who are sick.

“If you are unlucky enough to get the flu, stay home. The CDC recommends that you stay home until at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided,” he said.

He also said the best way to prevent any of that from happening is to get vaccinated, and when asked if it’s too late to get the shot, “Absolutely not! There’s still plenty of time to go ahead and get it,” he said.

The CDC put out a new report this month that an estimated 79,000 hospitalizations were prevented because people got vaccinated.

This year’s vaccine targets, among other strains, the H1N1 virus, which the CDC said is the primary flu strain this year so far.

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