The flu is causing worry nationwide tonight. It came early and strong and it's already claimed lives in several states.
Tennessee remains in the red for a high number of cases. And while the Centers for Disease Control announced Friday we may have seen the worst of it, you may still be at risk.
"We've seen high levels of activity for the last two or three weeks," said Dr. Kelly Moore, medical director of the Tennessee Immunization Program.
Like much of the country, flu season hit Tennessee early and hard with nearly 8,000 cases reported statewide in the first week of 2013. Six hundred and six of those were in Davidson County. And while cases have dropped off over the past week in Nashville, Moore warned now is not the time to let your guard down.
"The flu is going to continue for several weeks to come even if we're at our peak right now. It will still be out there and you will still be vulnerable," Moore explained.
In fact, officials said flu season could stick around through February and possibly into March. That's why Moore strongly urges those who haven't gotten the flu shot to get vaccinated. She especially encourages those considered high risk to get vaccinated, including the elderly, young children and people with chronic illnesses like heart or lung conditions, diabetes, obesity as well as liver and kidney disease.
"Influenza is a good vaccine but it's not a perfect vaccine," Moore said.
But Dr. William Schaffner, an expert on infectious diseases, warned it's not a cure all. He said people who get this particular vaccine can still get the flu.
"It's about 62 percent effective ... which means that it completely prevents influenza in many people but in others what it does is reduce the severity of influenza. It reduces the chance of complications ... pneumonia, hospitalization and death. If you haven't had the vaccine, run, do not walk and get it."
Now if you do get the shot, keep in mind it takes about two weeks for you to get the most protection.
If you get the flu, there are things you can take like Tamiflu to ease your symptoms. But doctors say the best medicine is to stay home, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 10:09 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:09:14 GMT
A Nashville couple was killed Thursday in a car wreck on Interstate 65 in Kentucky. The crash happened at mile marker 98 near Elizabethtown around 4 p.m. Police said Claire R. Kahane, 75, was drivingMore >>
Emergency responders in central Kentucky had cleared the scene of a crash that killed a Nashville woman when they found the body of her husband nearly 1,000 feet away.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-24 00:38:59 GMT
MTSU police say they gotten the man who were videotaping women in a dorm shower. He had easy S to access to the campus dorm. The spring semester is over at MTSU, but the few students who remain were stockedMore >>
MTSU police say they have gotten the man who was videotaping women in a dorm shower. The suspect had easy access to the campus dorm.More >>
The Washington State Patrol says the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon has collapsed, dumping vehicles and people into the water.More >>
An Interstate 5 bridge over a river collapsed north of Seattle Thursday evening, dumping two vehicles into the water and sparking a rescue effort by boats and divers as three injured people were pulled from the chilly...More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:47 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:47:40 GMT
Franklin police are looking for a masked burglar who broke into a McDonald's in Cool Springs early-Monday morning. The burglary occurred at a restaurant located at 653 Frazier Dr. at about 1:20 a.m. TheMore >>
Franklin police are looking for a masked burglar who broke into a McDonald's in Cool Springs early Monday morning.More >>