Flu on the rise across the tri-state region - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Flu on the rise across the tri-state region

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The new year has barely just begun and already flu season is peaking.  Kentucky is at the highest level of flu activity across the state.  Dr. Frank Fannin with King's Daughters Urgent Care Center in Ashland, KY says their clinic is averaging 10-20 positive flu cases a day.

Adena Health System in Ohio is also seeing a spike with nine hospitalized cases of the flu.  They only had 14 cases last year for the whole season.

Cabell County, WV has already seen one flu related death.  Dr. Patti Marcum with Cabell Huntington Hospital explains that if high risk patients, including young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions, get the flu they could have severe illness which can be deadly.

Symptoms include body ache, fever, and coughing.  These symptoms are similar to the common cold with one big difference.  Dr. Marcum says, "you go from feeling perfectly healthy to feeling like you've been run over by a truck".

The best ways to avoid the flu include washing your hands and of course getting the flu shot.  It's never too late to get the flu shot, however Dr. Frank Fannin reminds us that once you get your shot you still have a couple weeks to build up immunity.

Cabell County is seeing an increase in H1N1, known as Swine Flu.  Dr. Marcum says H1N1 has the same symptoms as the seasonal flu, but it effects adults in their 20's-30's and children whereas the regular flu tends to effect the elderly.  The good news it that H1N1 is covered by the flu vaccine this year. 

The flu is a virus that mutates, which is why you need to get your flu vaccine annually.  The vaccine changes to reflect adaptations in the flu virus.