Doctors stress importance of vaccines as flu spreads in TN - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Doctors stress importance of vaccines as flu spreads in Middle TN


The flu is spreading in Middle Tennessee, and it's even being blamed in the death of a young minister.

The pastor's grieving family says they hope more people will get a flu shot and avoid the potentially deadly virus.

It's a message doctors agree with.

"If you have not gotten vaccinated, run, do not walk. Get yourself vaccinated," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Lately, local clinics have been booming with people who are already sick.

"It's definitely increased over the last couple of weeks. I would say we're seeing probably five or six a day that are positive with the flu," said Nurse Practitioner Kristy Hayes.

Prescriptions for nasal spray and Tamiflu are in higher demand.

"People typically with flu symptoms come in with high fever, chills, body aches, coughing, nausea, headache," Hayes said.

Since the start of the flu season, there have been at least 190 people hospitalized for flu in Nashville and the seven surrounding counties. Forty-three people have been taken to Vanderbilt, and at least two people have died.

Experts say being vaccinated is the simple and quick way to prevent it.

"The vaccine is safe. It's effective. It's not too late to get vaccinated. It takes about 10 days to two weeks to get maximum protection," Schaffner said.

For those who have had the flu before, it's not something that is easily forgotten.

"It was the most miserable I've ever felt," said Robbie Stephens.

He says skipping a shot is not worth it.

"I've heard stories of people getting sick after the shot. I didn't feel anything. It doesn't hurt at all. It takes a second," Stephens said. "I don't know why anybody wouldn't get it."

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