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COVID On The Rise In UC, Peak Flu Season Will Hit At End Of Month

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
COVID On The Rise In UC, Peak Flu Season Will Hit At End Of Month

COVID cases are on the rise across the Upper Cumberland and the flu is starting its annual increase.

Donald Grisham is the Upper Cumberland Regional Director for the Tennessee Department of Health. He said it is hard to tell if RSV, COVID or the flu is hitting the Upper Cumberland hardest right now.

“If you’re a family practiced doctor, you don’t have to turn in statistics on, you know, how many people did you see today with COVID, how many people have you seen with RSV,” Grisham said. “As a rule, they’re seeing a lot of COVID, they’re seeing RSV and flu. Now which one is leading the pack, it’s hard to say. Right now, I would think it’s COVID.”

Grisham said West Tennessee is already being hit hard by the flu. While the Upper Cumberland is seeing a rise in cases, Grisham said the flu will not hit peak in the region until late January into early February.

Grisham said COVID starts out with mild symptoms and symptoms get worse over time. He said the flu will hit hard and fast with body aches and fever within the first day. He said with RSV to watch for chest wheezing. He said there is a new vaccine for RSV that needs to be received every two years.

Grisham said people should get the sixth COVID booster to protect against the new strain. He said he encourages people to get the flu vaccine before peak season hits and to keep in my mind it takes two weeks for the flu shot to be effective.

“If you are an adult and you get the flu shot, the risk of you being hospitalized for the flu this year is reduced by 50 percent,” Grisham said. “You’ll still get the flu maybe, but it’s going to be milder with less complications. But if you are a child and you get the flu shot, the risk of that child being hospitalized because of the flu drops 75 percent.”

Grisham said only 40 percent of Tennesseans typically get a flu shot. He said only 15 percent of Tennesseans have kept up with their COVID boosters. Grisham said in 2021 the flu had almost no impact compared to now.

“Typically in a year of the flu almost one in ten of every adults will get the flu,” Grisham said. “But in 2021, when everybody was masking with COVID and washing their hands, the flu cases were almost down to zero.”

Grisham said they are seeing cases of COVID, RSV and flu in the region, and many symptoms overlap.

“COVID, RSV and the flu all have similar symptoms,” Grisham said. “You know you’ll have coughing, fever, fatigue, congestion, sore throats, and they’re all spread the same way. It’s person to person. If someone coughs or if you touch your eye you can transmit a virus.”

Grisham said the state is one of seven states reporting high flu rates. He said there were a 100 people hospitalized in Vanderbilt with the flu alone. He said the Upper Cumberland needs to be prepared when flu hits its peak season in the region later this month.

Grisham said people over 65 and people with diabetes, asthma and lung problems can get serious complications like pneumonia from the flu. He said small children are also at risk.


The post COVID On The Rise In UC, Peak Flu Season Will Hit At End Of Month appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.