KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported widespread flu activity across every state but Hawaii last week. In East Tennessee, cases of influenza-like illnesses exceeded state numbers.
Dr. Lisa Padgett with Knoxville Pediatric Association said her clinic is full of children sick with the flu. She said every day, from the time they open to close, her staff has been treating flu patients.
"We are wiping everything down with bleach wipes or if I go into a room where I suspect it, I wear a mask to prevent breathing their air," Padgett said.
So far this flu season, 37 children have died because of the flu, according to the CDC. Padgett said if your child develops severe symptoms, it may be time for an ER visit.
"If your child is having any breathing difficulty, chest pain or any pale spells, blue spells, unusually sleepy or irritable, they need to be looked at because they may be developing the complications of influenza," Padgett said.
Several different school systems across East Tennessee told Local 8 News they have experienced high amounts of students and teachers absent for illness.
Padgett said the best prevention is still a flu vaccination and keeping hands washed.
"85 percent of the children that have died from influenza were not vaccinated - yes, your kid can still get flu despite being vaccinated, but they won't be in that high risk area," Padgett said.
Padgett said for children who become sick with the flu, it is not safe to return back to school until no symptoms are noticeable for at least 24 hours without medication.