Flu cases on the rise before the season officially starts

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 8:19 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Rising flu cases are filling some clinics at alarming rates. Medical professionals say the South is seeing a high rate of cases before the official start of flu season.

“We have been swamped with flu for the past probably seven days,” said Dr. Catherine Phillippi with Trustcare Kids in Gluckstadt.

The pediatrician is seeing an unusually high number of flu cases in recent days. Patients are coming in with high fevers, runny noses, coughs, vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Our urgent care is really at capacity,” said Phillippi. “One day last week, we saw over 100 patients in the clinic in one day.”

The Centers for Disease Control reports the highest activity in the south-central and southeastern states. So far this season, the CDC estimates there have been at least 880,000 flu illnesses, 6,900 hospitalizations, and 360 deaths from flu. While it may seem early in the season for flu cases, Dr. Phillippi attributes the increases to more travel and looser social distancing practices.

“It is a little early,” said Phillippi. “I always tell my patients to watch for the state fair as a marker for when to get the flu shot, and this year very quickly after the state fair was here, we started seeing really skyrocketing numbers.”

According to the 23-year physician, tests are often negative for the flu virus within the first 24 hours of a high fever, but she recommends returning to the doctor for treatment. Doctors have also encountered several cases of flu and RSV, as well as flu and COVID. An annual flu shot is recommended for everyone six months and older.

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