Tennessee experiences widespread flu outbreak - WKRN News 2

Tennessee experiences widespread flu outbreak

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, along with 11 other states across the country are experiencing a widespread flu outbreak.

The outbreak is the most severe category listed by the Centers for Disease Control.

"Widespread category simply means we are in flu season. It's a CDC term when half to more of the regions are reporting flu like illnesses," Brain Todd with the Metro Public Health Department told Nashville's News 2.

According to Todd, the flu season usually begins in mid-December and peaks in January, but can peak as late as February. The flu season typically ends in the beginning of April.

Todd told News 2 that the CDC's weekly report is an alert that citizens should be mindful of.

"It's something to keep you updated and remind you to take the steps to prevent illnesses like the flu," Todd said.

Health officials advise Tennesseans the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get the flu shot.

A recent report released by CVS Pharmacy showed that 37% of participants thought that receiving the flu shot can give a person the flu and that more than half of Americans have not received a flu shot this year.

According to Todd, the flu shot does not cause a person to have the flu.

"The flu shot doesn't contain flu viruses," Todd said.

A flu mist is also available to those wanting to avoid the flu. Todd said the flu mist does have an active vaccine, which could cause the recipient to have a fever or headache, but nothing as severe as what the flu can cause.

"If you didn't get the flu shot and you don't want to get a flu shot, of course we want you to wash your hands to stop the spread of germs," Todd said.

The Metro Public Health Department worker said that flu symptoms can include a fever above 100 degrees, body aches, headaches and coughing.

Nashville's Health Department has given around 10,000 flu shots this year.

Todd said that is it is not too late for a person to receive a flu shot and he recommends for everyone to get one.

Shots are available for $20 each at three local centers: Lentz Public Health Center on 23rd Avenue North, Woodbine Public Health Center on Oriel Avenue, and East Public Health Center on East Trinity Lane.

The centers are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit the Metro Health Department's Web site.

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