This past week, seasonal influenza activity increased nationally and most states are reporting widespread flu activity, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This uptick in illness has caused many Middle Tennessee schools to close. Counties to close due to illness include Maury, Wilson, Barren, Fayetteville City, Giles, Lawrence, Lebanon Special Schools District, Lewis, Lincoln, Perry and Stewart.

The latest weekly flu map from the CDC indicates that Tennessee is experiencing regional activity, but most of the country’s flu cases are widespread.

 

Young children are among those most at risk for serious illness and death from influenza.  Tennessee typically sees four to five deaths among children from flu-related complications each year.

Recent studies show flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 50 to 60 percent among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses. Flu vaccination may make your illness milder if you do get sick, and can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization including among children and older adults.

Although we are several months into flu season, it’s not to let to get a flu shot. The flu vaccine is available across Tennessee from a number of providers including pharmacies, grocery store clinics and primary care providers.

The CDC reminds everyone to practice good health habits like frequent hand washing with soapy water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or a tissue to help prevent the spread of the flu.

Signs of the Flu

Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat, reports mayoclinic.com. But colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
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