Telemedicine physicians seeing spike in area flu cases

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After an early start to the flu season, cases continue to rise in Tennessee.

New numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health show Chattanooga is seeing the highest spike in flu cases in the state.

According to the latest data, 12-percent of patients are experiencing influenza-like illness.

That’s a three-percent increase compared to the last reporting period.

The southeast is up to nine-percent, Shelby County is at 6.4-percent, and Nashville-Davidson County isn’t too far behind at 5.6-percent.

The Metro Health Department told News 2, with any spike like the one in Chattanooga, health officials expect something similar to happen in the metro area.

A big part of preventing the spread is isolating contact with those experiencing symptoms.

In the comfort of her Nolenvsille home office, Dr. Cynthia Collins’ Day is stacked with flu patient after flu patient.

“We are seeing so many calls now for the flu,” said Dr. Collins. “Every other patient is a possible flu case.”

By computer or mobile app, telemedicine enables Dr. Collins to treat area flu patients on demand.

She’s one of several board-certified doctors with MDLIVE, a telemedicine service.

“It’s a win-win,” said Dr. Collins. “It’s a win for them. They’re not exposing themselves to office infections and even for the provider themselves, we’re not exposing ourselves to infections, as well.”

Flu activity usually increases every winter holiday, but this season, Dr. Collins said it’s been different.

“It seems like this year with all the weather changes, one minute it’s warm the next minute it’s cold, it seems like people are getting sicker a lot more,” said Dr. Collins. “I see a lot of patients too that their background is allergies and they’re catching the virus even quicker.”

With more holiday gatherings near, the worst of the flu season may be yet to come.

The best defense, still the flu shot.

“Once you have the infection, we’ll treat the infection, but overall, it’s not too late,” said Dr. Collins.

The Metro Health Department is still offering free flu shots.

They take walk-ins until 2:30 p.m. every week day, until the month of May.

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