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Influenza virus spreads in Tri-Cities

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 05:33:25 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2014 05:34:41 PM CST
Influenza virus comes to Tri-Cities
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  have been tracking the flu virus all winter, and now they say it's in our area.

We went to Johnson City's First Assist Urgent Care clinic and found out we're at the peak of flu season. We're told it's been spreading for the last two weeks.

The clinic was having a busy day when we were there.

"Today we have six rooms full of sore throat, headache, fever, chills, and some nausea," said doctor Buddy Clayton.

FAST FACTS
  • Peak of flu season in Tri-Cities
  • Many cases of Type A flu, including Swine Flu (H1N1)
  • There's still time to get a flu shot

He said they weren't the only ones with a full waiting room. "Over at our Elizabethton clinic, we usually see about 30 or 40 a day and we went up to 60 plus a day probably over the last week and a half, two weeks," said Clayton.

He told us they've seen a lot of cases of Type A flu, which includes H1N1, known as Swine Flu.

It's a milder version than the strain from two years ago, Clayton said. We're told you can expect all of the usual symptoms, such as headache, fever, chills, nausea, cough and a runny nose. "Go past two days, we recommend over-the-counter medications," Clayton told us. "Anything to keep the nose running like the decongestants, plenty of water, green tea with honey for the cough."

If you live with other people, he said, they should see a doctor to get Tamiflu to keep from also getting the virus. "A medication that can actually inhibit the virus from reproducing in the body and help the body fall off the flu," Clayton told us.

Clayton said Tamiflu is also used to treat the flu.

He said it's also not too late to get the flu shot. More than 130 million doses have already been given out, according to the CDC's website.

Clayton told News 5 the flu shot isn't effective right away. "It takes up to a week to get antibodies and fight it so you can still catch the flu while you're waiting for this to catch up," he said.

He told us that's the reason it's so important for people with the flu to stay at home until their fever goes away.

Clayton said they're expecting more cases of the flu as kids go back to school. The flu is the most dangerous to children and the elderly, he said.