MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Seven people have died in Tennessee this year from the flu, according to the state's health department.
Six of the people who died were children. The seventh victim was a pregnant woman. All of the victims are from Middle or East Tennessee.
Doctors in the Mid-South continue to warn patients that the flu is as serious as it's ever been. This year, the illness continues to spread.
"You know you'll usually get a peak and then a fall, but we haven't seen that fall yet; it's still on the uptick," Dr. Mark Castellaw of Baptist Medical Group said.
Doctors are hoping they'll see a downward spiral for this year's deadly flu sooner rather than later
"This is the most virulent flu that I've seen in quite some time," Castellaw said.
Castellaw said he normally doesn't have to send people to the emergency room for the flu - but this year is different.
"Older folks that we've had to put in the hospital, mainly because they'll have secondary infections, like pneumonia, and that's what usually puts them in the hospital," Castellaw said. "This is a dangerous outbreak. People need to take this very seriously."
While the flu shot has been less effective this year than in years past, Castellaw still encourages everyone to take it and do simple things to prevent the flu--like washing your hands often and disinfecting your phones and/or work areas
Remember, the signs to look out for if you think you have the flu include a high fever, muscle aches, and trouble breathing.