KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Spring may just be around the corner, but the flu is still hitting southern states hard.
Tennessee is among 14 states seeing a high number of influenza cases, according to the CDC. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said they are also experiencing an influx of flu cases.
Dr. Amit Patel with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said they saw 116 flu cases this week. Compared to previous years, Dr. Patel said that is not a huge number, but it is the highest number they’ve seen in flu cases this season.
Dr. Patel said he expects flue cases to rise over the next couple weeks. He said the pediatricians offices affiliated with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reported more than 600 cases in February.
“It is not too late to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Patel. “This is an illness that is preventable. 100 children die of the flue, on average, every year.”
It takes two weeks for a vaccination to become effective, according to Dr. Patel. He said the flu is highly contagions and spreads quickly among children.
People over 65 and young children or babies who can’t be vaccinated, as well as those who have chronic medical conditions are at the highest risks of complications from flu, according to Dr. Patel. He said some complications could include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections or dehydration.
If your child has the flu, Dr. Patel said it will usually go away in a week or two, but children should see a doctor if they have ear pain, a cough, a fever that won’t go away or signs of dehydration. He recommends plenty of bed rest and extra fluids.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used for fever in doses recommended by your pediatrician for your child’s age and weight, according to Dr. Patel. He says never give a child aspirin.