Tennessee, Georgia experience 'widespread' flu like activity

Alice and Emma Eaker read a magazine at Access Family Pharmacy in Hixson. The nine-year-old twins got flu shots this year. (Image: WTVC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is widespread flu activity in 46 states, including Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The Chattanooga area is part of the pattern.

In this first week of 2018, CHI Memorial says it had 58 positive flu tests. Those numbers are up from this time last year. According to a CHI Memorial spokesperson, there were 84 positive flu cases in December 2017. In December 2016, there were just 16.

"We're seeing an earlier flu season this year and that changes every year," Dr. Alan Von Gremp, with AFC Urgent Care in Hixson. "Peak flu seasons are always February but sometimes we see it a little earlier like we are this year...doesn't mean it will be worse than other years, just earlier."

Von Gremp says the flu shot is about 30 percent effective and takes about two weeks to kick in. He encourages people to get the shot, even at this point in the season.

"There's definitely been an uptick in our patients concerned about the flu,"said Von Gremp.

Emma and Alice Eaker, nine-year-old twins, already got their flu shots.

"It pinched for a second," said Alice Eaker. "But It didn't hurt."

Both girls say they had the flu last year. This year, it was important for them to get their flu shots.

"Cause my mom is pregnant," said Alice Eaker. "And if she got sick then it's dangerous for the baby."

Check out this link for a look at how high the numbers are for influenza like illnesses in Hamilton County compared to previous years.

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