Influenza epidemic strikes the nation - WKRN News 2

Influenza epidemic strikes the nation

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Across the nation, influenza has become widespread in at least 40 states, including Tennessee.

The epidemic has caused Indianapolis area hospitals to begin restricting visitors with flu-like symptoms, including a fever or cough.

"The biggest thing is not to go out and infect other people," said Emily McIsaac, MD.

The flu is taking a toll on the most vulnerable.  In the past week alone, 10 children have died.

Here in Middle Tennessee, 11-year-old Savannah Hyden came down with H1N1, which is currently the most common strain of the flu virus.

Hyden died nearly 72 hours later.

"It was more than her body could handle, it was more than her heart could take. It just basically stopped her heart," Aunt Tiffany Moore said. "Vanderbilt said grown men are dying from H1N1."
 
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kahzeer in Texas didn't receive a vaccination either.  She also died of complications from the flu. 

Doctors say the flu shot is still the best defense, but one in five parents still say they don't give their children the flu vaccine for fear they will get the flu from it, which is a medical myth.

The flu season typically lasts through April, so it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"While it does take two weeks to get the full protection from the flu shot, your immunity starts to kick in almost immediately. So sooner is better," said Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

On Friday, Metro Public Health officials announced they ran out of flu vaccines after providing 10,000 doses.
 
As of Sunday, there are no plans to order additional vaccines.

Health officials suggest anyone looking for a flu shot to check with their primary care physician, as well as pharmacies and walk-in clinics.

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