Vandy ER director says flu making young, healthy people sick - WSMV Channel 4

Vandy ER director says flu making young, healthy people sick

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There are still several weeks left this flu season, and while the number of cases is not abnormal, the number of severe cases has medical professionals very concerned.

People are simply getting sicker from this strain of flu than they have in a long time.

Eighteen people have died from flu this season in Middle Tennessee - more than the 11 who died in all of last flu season in this area - and the hospitalizations are up as well.

Dr. Corey Slovis, director of the emergency room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says it's not just that people are getting sick.

"The people that have gotten seriously ill, the vast majority of hospitalized patients - here and across the country - have been young and healthy but have not gotten the flu shot. And people say, 'I haven't gotten the flu in five or 10 years.' I know, and you're likely not going to get it. But if you don't get the flu shot, and you do get the flu, it's much more likely you're going to get really sick," Slovis said.

In 30 years, Slovis says, he's never seen the flu hospitalize a higher percentage of people.

He warns what to look for when the flu turns serious.

"If you're having trouble thinking. If you're having trouble eating. If your fever is so high it's uncontrollable. Those are the people that need to come to the hospital. And the people who've been hospitalized, not only have they been very weak, they've also been having shortness of breath. They're having respiratory symptoms that are far out of the ordinary," Slovis said.

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