We're right in the heart of the flu season.
Already several school systems in the Midstate are closed due to illnesses and flu-like symptoms.
However, in the Metro area we're seeing a different trend.
Infectious disease doctors say every flu season is different, and we could see a huge spike in the coming months. But for now, it appears the flu vaccine is doing its job.
Buddy Creech specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Every indication through the CDC tell us (the influenza vaccine) is a really good match this year. That's really helpful for us,” said Creech. “Every year we see these ups and downs in flu activity. Some of that is based on how well we've gotten the word out to be vaccinated.”
The Metro Nashville Public Health Department says right now, they are not seeing widespread cases of the flu.
Creech says some years we see the flu spike earlier in the season. Other times, it can go into early spring.
“This year, the strain that seems to be dominant is different from that strain from last year,” Creech explains. “I think that's why this year might be on the whole, maybe a bit (milder) than last year.”
Creech and health officials believe more people are getting vaccinated, and that too is helping.
“In middle Tennessee, there are pockets of communities that are highly vaccinated. When we see that, we see transmission go down.”
Ellen Nelson says she's experienced flu like symptoms this year, but it ended up not being the flu.
“I got a flu shot the second I could get a flu shot,” said Nelson. “I haven't run into a ton of people with the flu, thankfully. But the ones I know who've had it, have said it's pretty severe.”
Doctors say it's important to note, there's a different between severe stomach bugs and influenza. The biggest being, the feeling of chills and respiratory illness that comes with the flu.
As always, wash your hands and stay home if you're feeling sick.