Flu season in full swing - WNEM TV 5

Flu season in full swing

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It has already been a rough year across the country for the flu virus and now cases are on the rise here in Mid-Michigan.

Health officials say Michigan is one of 25 states now reporting widespread levels of flu activity.

In the last week, dozens of people have gone to local emergency rooms complaining of flu-like symptoms and some doctors are noticing a difference in the patients they're treating this flu season compared to others.

Doctor Elizabeth Sutherland works in the emergency room at McLaren Hospital in Flint.

"We are seeing double, triple what we've seen this time last year. It's affecting younger people, 20 to 30 year olds who think they don't need the flu vaccine. They've been hit pretty hard with the flu," says Sutherland.

She says they are seeing an increase of patients suffering from the flu and it's not just babies or the elderly in need of medical attention.

It's no secret that Mid-Michigan is in the midst of a deep freeze, but Sutherland doesn't think the near record low temperatures are to blame.

"I think the season started earlier. That may have something to do with that age group not taking precautions as the elderly." says Sutherland.

Precautions like washing your hands frequently, and cleaning public surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards and phones since the virus is highly contagious.

Still, Sutherland says your best bet to avoid getting the flu is to get a flu shot and it's not too late to get one.

Even if you follow the doctors orders and go get a flu shot, it's important to note that it takes about two weeks for the anti-bodies to kick in.

Sutherland also suggests going to the doctor as soon as you feel flu like symptoms coming on. Your doctor may be able to give you medication to ease the discomfort.

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