Here's what you need to know about the flu in East Tennessee

Published: Jan. 22, 2020 at 10:40 PM EST
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The flu is giving East Tennesseans a rough time this season, and the virus has already claimed at least four lives.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center has

this season. The number of flu cases are higher this year compared to last year's cases through January, officials said.

While rates of the flu have slightly declined, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's too early to know whether the flu season has hit its peak.

“It is too early to know whether the season has peaked or if flu activity will increase again,” the CDC website said.

WVLT News spoke to a health expert, Angela Opry, about flu conditions in East Tennessee.

Opry is a nurse practitioner with Summit Ecpress Clinic.

"It started a little sooner than in years past, so this flu season has been a little worse," Opry said. Opry said one strain of the flu can cause more problems than the other.

"Flu A is generally a respiratory virus where you're having a hard time breathing, coughing, that's the one where you generally see people in the hospital," Opry said. Flu A "can be more difficult for infants and the eldery."

Opry said flu type B causes more stomach-related issues, such as vomiting.

Even though officials don't know if the flu season has hit its peak, Opry said there's a new prescription that can help called Xofluza.

"It's a one-dose pill and, generally speaking, your flu symptoms are gone within 24 hours," Opry said.

To learn more about the flu, including how to prevent it, go


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