Flu cases spiking as Christmas holidays begin

Doctors were concerned that this year's Flu shot was only about 10% effective against the A strain of the virus.

"Here the flu season officially begins October 1 and lasts until March 31, but we look at it all year round", Burton said.

Health officials in East Tennessee, Kentucky and Western Virginia are all reporting more cases of the flu, saying flu activity is starting to reach its highest levels in some places.

Increased activity for the flu began earlier this season than usual in Kentucky and is expected to continue for several months.

In December 2016, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported the first flu death of the year.

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Health experts say the best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated.

North Carolina health officials believe more needs to be done to protect families from the flu. Those viruses are especially hard on older people and H3 seasons generally are more severe that seasons when H1N1 or influenza B viruses are dominant. But no antiviral resistant flu was reported in Region 8; and no pediatric influenza-related mortality occurred in that week.

The health unit is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

Last flu season, the virus caused 829 hospitalizations and 56 deaths. The flu vaccine doesn't provide flawless protection, but people who get it tend to have less severe symptoms.

"It's not just for you, it's for the people around you, we spend a lot of time in the Winter time together, football season, the holidays, family gatherings, you name it we are all together and we tend to share our bugs", said Griggs.

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To date, three people have died from the flu, and 66 people have been hospitalized.

"People can develop pneumonia and other respiratory complications from it that will land someone in the hospital, particularly the elderly", Martin said.

Davis said JCCHS has flu vaccine available for the senior population and is still ordering it for children. It also brings on the flu. These symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath.

"Because their immune system doesn't produce that protection as quickly as maybe a younger, more healthy adult might, we give them a little extra and that helps them respond better", Howard told News 9.

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