Flu cases on the rise in Shelby County

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - If you haven't already gotten sick with the flu this season, then you probably know someone who has.

The flu has rapidly spread across the U.S., and Shelby County is no exception.

The Center for Disease Control reports the flu season is escalating earlier than usual and to near-epidemic levels.

Right now, at least three strands of the flu are circulating the county.

"We have seen influenza B, influenza A, and multiple different strands of influenza A are all circulating," said David Sweat, Chief of Epidemiology at Shelby County Health Department. "So there is not one virus out there, there is at least three viruses contributing to the increase right now."

When over-the-counter remedies no longer help, people are flocking to the emergency department to see relief.

Shelby County Health Department said so far, December 19 marked the peak of visits for the flu with 245 patients.

As of mid-December, more than 100 people have died nationwide from the flu according to the CDC, with four deaths reported in Tennessee.

Officials said it's a good reminder it's never too late for a flu shot.

"Once you get the flu vaccination it takes about two weeks for your body to fully charge up in response to that, so the earlier you get the shot the better," Sweat said.

While the vaccine won't completely stop you from getting the flu, it will make the flu's symptoms less severe.

Visit the CDC website for more information.

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