Increasing flu cases in southwest Virginia - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Increasing flu cases in southwest Virginia

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ROANOKE, VA -

More cases of the flu are being reported in southwest Virginia. We're told within the last week or so numbers have started to pick up.

"Most of the time they have that look, they look like they feel bad, they're dehydrated, they're aching all over," said Dr. Kevin Broyles who works in the emergency room at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. "Last year, we were hit pretty hard. This year we've only had nine confirmed cases throughout the month of December."

Most of those cases were reported within the last week. LewisGale and Doctors Express also report an increased number.

Currently Virginia is one of a handful of states reporting widespread flu.

According to the CDC many of the cases reported to them in our region are the H1N1 or swine flu that first started in 2009 but Type A and Type B are also showing up.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a health advisory talking about H1N1 saying it's the predominant circulating virus so far with multiple hospitalizations. They say if this continues it affects young and middle age adults compared to older groups.

You may remember last year at this time the flu case numbers were much higher but we're told don't let your guard down just yet, there's still plenty of time to see a significant spike.

"Last year our heaviest time was the later part of December and into January so there's still potential that it could get worse," said Dr. Broyles.

Doctors stress it's not too late to get your flu shot. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to become effective.

Dr. Laurie Forlano the Virginia Department of Health Deputy State Epidemiologist says right now the strains are matching what's in the vaccine but that can change over the flu season. Dr. Forlano says it's the time of year when we reach the widespread levels, so the spike is expected.

What can you do to prevent the flu? Dr. Broyles recommended washing your hands and wiping of things like grocery store carts.

If you start to feel sick avoid other people and get treatment within the first 48-hours.

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