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Flu Cases Higher Than Last Year, Still Below Average

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Flu Cases Higher Than Last Year, Still Below Average

Flu case numbers are higher than last year but still lower than average.

That’s according to Cookeville Regional Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Pierce. He said that he attributes the higher number to people being less cautious than last year.

“We saw hardly any flu last year, I think because people were a lot more diligent about masking, social distancing, schools were closed, and that sort of thing,” Pierce said. “But we’ve not seen huge numbers. We had about a hundred (cases) or so since November the first that we’ve seen at the hospital.”

Pierce said that there are typically two flu peaks, one that occurs around this time and one that occurs about a month later. He said that sometimes that peak is much higher than the first, so flu season is still upon us.

Pierce said that the best thing to do to protect yourself against the flu is to get your annual flu shot.

“There are still seasonal flu vaccines and I would really encourage people to get that as well,” Pierce said. “It’s also been shown to be helpful to prevent infection and to prevent serious disease in the same way that the COVID vaccine does. Flu in general, it’s hard to say, it’s a little bit confusing because we have different strains of flu that circulate at different times. So the flu vaccine that they make, they make a guess as to which strain will be circulating and they produce the vaccine aimed at two or three of those circulating strains. And if they get it right, we’ll have a milder season but sometimes in  spite of their best efforts the vaccine doesn’t match up to the circulating stain that well.”

Pierce said that for those individuals who are high-risk, much like with COVID, it is recommended to get treatment for symptoms within two to three days if possible. He said that they recommend medications like Tamiflu for treatment.

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