An early and nasty flu season that has swept across the country and killed eight in the Mid-South is picking up steam and is shaping up to be one of the worst flue seasons on record.
There are seven flu-related deaths in Arkansas and one flu-related death in Tennessee.
In New England, Boston has declared a pubic health emergency after 18 have died because of the flu.
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The flu season normally starts in January but it hit in November and there's no signs of it letting up anytime soon.
With the outbreak in full swing, medical facilities in the Memphis area have been flooded with patients.
Doctors say one of the main reasons why people are getting the flu because they aren't getting flu shots.
LeBonheur Children's Hospital has seen more than 100 children patients a day than normal.
As for adults, many of them are heading to Methodist-Lebonheur's Minor Medical Centers across town, where men and women are lined up most mornings before the doors open.
"We had a little over 300 patients just on Monday being seen in the minor medical system," said David Cummings, Methodist administrator.
To try to cut back on the number of cases of the flu in the Mid-South , the Shelby County Health Department is offering free flu shots to anyone who walks through the doors of any their clinics.
"We discuss this and try to inform and educate the community every year about influenza and prevention and the use of the vaccine," said Dr. Helen Morrow, Shelby County Health Officer. "Sometimes we feel we've made no headway."
Doctors say the flu season will likely last through March, or could possibly roll into April. That's why it's not too late to go get a flu shot. Doctors say if you are sick, stay home from work. Not only can you pass the flu on to your coworkers, you put yourself at greater risk of developing pneumonia.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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