Flu bug arrives to Middle Tennessee - WSMV News 4

Flu bug arrives to Middle Tennessee

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Ready or not, flu season is here, and a lot can be done to keep them from catching it.

The Tennessee Department of Health says the most important part of flu season is protecting pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses, those who are under 5 years old and those over 65.

They say these are the people most likely to be put in the hospital due to the flu.

Officials at Tristar Summit Medical Center say their first cases were reported in the last two weeks, which is actually a later start than usual for flu season.

"We absolutely encourage flu shots six months and older, every year, especially extreme ages, people who have diabetes. Those patients can get the flu and it can make their diabetes worse or their heart failure a lot worse, emphysema, they could get very serious," said Dr. Jeff Greenlee at Tristar Summit Medical Center.

The Little Clinic in Hermitage has been pushing patients to get those shots for months.

"The CDC has recommended people get them when flu shots come out. This year, they came out in mid- to late-August, but they continue throughout the year. And people get them in January, February, March," said Sabrina Briggs at The Little Clinic.

Briggs says flu cases were at their worst around Christmas-time last year, and that's why she believes now's the time to get the shot.

"It takes about two weeks to kick in, so it's important to get it now," she said

Health officials add Thanksgiving gatherings are also a prime time for the flu to spread.

"We always talk about careful hand washing, avoiding people who are sick, sneeze precautions and, when you are sick, staying home," Greenlee said.

Officials advise above all else for families to be watchful of those most susceptible to the flu, so that a runny nose, chills and fever don't become a very serious situation.

The Little Clinic is open Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to give those flu shots.

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