NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The peak of the flu season is around the corner, but Tennessee is seeing an early increase in flu activity. 

According to the CDC’s latest numbers, Tennessee is among the highest in the country regarding flu activity. 

Dr. Marshall Hall, Medical Director of Emergency Services at TriStar Skyline Medical Center, pointed out that influenza cases essentially disappeared in the last two seasons following the surge of COVID-19.

“I haven’t seen influenza B in two years and I’ve only seen one or two cases of influenza A,” he said of a recent conversation with other doctors. “It quite literally disappeared for a couple of flu seasons so really anything is going to be worse than what it was the last two years.”

Healthcare providers and facilities are making preparations now for a surge. 

“As you get more and more COVID cases and influenza cases resources can get stretched a little thin so yes there is concern for that,” he explained, saying they always prepare this time of year.

Dr. Hall said there is concern people have let their guard down, adding there are steps you can take to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system this winter. Social distancing and washing hands, typical protocols for COVID-19, are good places to start, but getting vaccinated is key he explained. 

“Isolating when you are symptomatic and then the big one of vaccinating. We know that vaccinating for influenza and COVID decreases transmission. We also know that it decreases the severity of illness, decreases risk of submission to the hospital, and ultimately, decreases risk of death.”

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Flu season in Tennessee typically peaks in the winter months, but Dr. Hall says it’s best to get ahead of it by acting now.