BRISTOL, Tenn. - The flu season is hitting all across the country. Some states are seeing an influx of people in emergency rooms, but that's not the case locally.
While they're seeing flu patients, doctors at Bristol Regional Medical Center say they've been able to handle all of the cases.
"Nationwide it's been really severe. You may have seen the TV showing people lying in beds in the halls, we haven't had it quite that bad here. We have had an epidemic curve and that shows the peak hopefully has come and gone," says Dr. Gail Stanley, an infectious disease specialist with Bristol Regional Medical Center.
So could the flu season be winding down? Dr. Stanley says it's too early to tell, but the latest data shows a drop, which is a good sign.
Doctors tell us if you have the flu virus you can spread it to about six more people and each one of them spreads it to six more people, so you can clearly see how quickly the flu can spread. "That's why we see an acute uprise of peaks and then it begins to taper off after that," adds Dr. Stanley.
So what happens if you get the flu? Some say it feels like you got hit by a truck. "It's very common for people to say they were fine and 20 minutes later they did not think they could move. They did not think they were going to be able to leave the office and drive home. So, it's really profoundly different than a really bad cold," adds Dr. Stanley.
Dr. Stanley says not everyone with the flu has to see a doctor, but it's important to watch for certain symptoms. "Sometimes if you are dizzy or you have trouble standing up, if you're getting a racing heart or if you are having trouble breathing, the time is to be seen by some healthcare provider," he said.
Even though we're in the thick of things now Dr. Stanley says it's not too late to get a flu shot.
Here's a snapshot of local flu numbers: Throughout Wellmont Health Systems there have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the flu.
Mountain States Health Alliance has had 272 positive flu cases in Washington County, Tennessee. At Indian Path in Kingsport there have been 146 confirmed flu cases.
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