Doctors warn patients about upcoming flu season

Last year’s flu season was deadliest since 1976

Doctors warn patients about upcoming flu season

CORDOVA, TN (WMC) - Last flu season was one of the deadliest in decades.

Federal health officials say 80,000 Americans died from flu-like complications. Now, doctors have a warning about the upcoming flu season.

It’s the time of year of when flu season usually starts, and local doctors say they’re starting to see patients with flu-like symptoms.

While flu season typically peaks in winter, October and November are when doctors start seeing patients with flu symptoms, including bad aches and pains.

“With influenza you can literally be well at 10 in the morning and really sick at 10 at night,” said Dr. Jeff Mullins with Methodist Medical Group in Cordova. “A lot of people go to bed really not feeling that bad and wake up feeling horrible with the flu, so rapid onset is one of the things I look for.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 80,000 flu deaths last season was the most deaths since 1976. Last year’s flu vaccine was also only 40 percent effective.

Dr. Mullins said it’s too early to know how if this year’s flu season will turn out.

“The flu is a very mutable virus,” Dr. Mullins said. “It changes quite rapidly.”

That’s why he encourages everyone to get a flu shot, especially children six months and up, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.

"I think what we saw last year was not so much a failure of immunization, it was the failure to get immunization,” Dr. Mullins said.

Aside from the flu shot, Dr. Mullins said common sense things like washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and staying away from sick people also go a long way in keeping you healthy.

To learn more about preventing the flu, visit the CDC’s website.

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