Have You Received Your Flu Vaccine This Season - Tennesseans Among Most Sick

John M. Dabbs

influenzaes are on the riseinflInfluenza cases are on the rise on Nortin east Tennessee.

Sick childPhoto byVitolda Klein/UnsplashonUnsplash

Influenza cases are on the rise in east Tennessee. Tennessee is among the most active areas in the country for flu this season, according to the Walgreens Flu Index. The market areas, as identified by Walgreens, identify the Knoxville market as number 2 and the Tri-Cities (Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia) as number 5. Nashville is close behind at number 8 and Chattanooga at number 10 according to their most recent data tracker - based on anti-viral prescriptions.

Walgreens’ interactive map breaks down each state’s flu activity from low to high. Tennessee was ranked the number one state for Walgreens' most recent flu index (week ending December 3, 2022), followed by Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.

When looking at just market areas, El Paso, Texas (including Las Cruces, New Mexico) ranked number 1 for activity (remember- this is based on prescribed anti-viral medications), followed by Knoxville, Tennessee.

The flu index used by Walgreens does not depict the severity of flu cases. Nor does it reflect the number of cases tested and confirmed by laboratories as being influenza positive.

Ballad Health System reports caring for 1,641 outpatient and urgent care flu cases and 107 patients hospitalized for the flu on December 3. The health system reports an average of 105-124 hospitalizations from the flu since November 25 this year.

Influenza Circulation in Tennesee Fast Facts:

  • To date, 230 specimens from Week 46 have been tested by TDH Laboratory Services and one commercial laboratory that serves clinics across the state.
  • 32 were positive for the influenza virus.
  • The most common strain of specimens tested was Flu A.
  • 35 of Tennesee's 95 counties have had one or more influenza-positive results in the past 6 weeks.

The Tennessee Department of Health says Influenza, or "the flu," is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tennessee Department of Health recommend that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school due to flu, preventing serious complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.

A flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications. The flu vaccine not only protects you, but it also can help protect those around you.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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