Mid-South flu season arrives several weeks early - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Mid-South flu season arrives several weeks early

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Fever, cough, back aches: Chances are you've noticed more and more people at home or work coming down with these symptoms.

Mid-South doctors say flu season arrived early this year.

MORE: Centers for Disease Control Flu Activity, Summary of Weekly FluView

"Normally we see flu worst in January after kids come back to school, so we expect it will likely be an especially bas season this year since we're already getting it," said Dr. Jon McCullers, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. McCullers said they noticed an increase in flu patients at their hospital around Thanksgiving.

McCullers said Le Bonheur is seeing high numbers of children coming in with RSV and flu: 50 to 60 kids per day for each virus.

"We're seeing very severe cases," said McCullers, "Some children in ICU with severe pneumonias associated with flu."

The Mississippi Department of Health released that they are seeing serious flu complications in younger adults. The CDC is already reporting flu-associated deaths nationwide in children.

"The cultures that they were doing to check for flu were coming back 15-percent positive," said Angela Schulz, Pediatrician at Baptist's Wolf River Pediatrics, "About half of them H1N1 and half of them Influenza A. Not too much B yet."

The flu strains circulating Mid-South hospitals is covered by this year's vaccine, and doctors say it's not too late to get it.

"The flu vaccine this year is very well matched to the strands that are circulating, so if you got the flu shot on time you should have good protection," said McCullers. He added that if you start to receive flu symptoms, see a doctor early because there is medicine available to help with the flu but it must be given in the first two days.

"Wash your hands, cover your cough, stay away from kids who are sick are the best things," said McCullers. "We expect there will be a lull over the holidays when everybody's home and indoors. Kids go back to school: That's when we'll start seeing it again."

Doctors say the flu shot does take about two weeks to fully take effect.

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