KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville is near the top of the list when it comes to high flu activity in the country’s top 10 markets. Residents are starting to feel the effects of this year’s flu season.
According to Walgreens Flu Index, Knoxville and Tennessee have the highest flu levels, leaving everyone from kids to teens to seniors at risk of contracting it.
This week Peggy Davis’ son graduates from Air Force boot camp. Unfortunately, his mother will not be there because of the flu.
“He’s in San Antonio, Texas,” Davis said. “Thursday is the graduation. I try to be there for all of them and their achievements or what they’re doing in their lives. This one is going to be a hard pill to swallow.”
Peggy was diagnosed with the flu two weeks ago. It was the first time in her life she didn’t get the vaccine.
“Al the other times I’ve been getting it. No flu. This time I didn’t get it and there’s the flu.”
Davis is not the only person stuck canceling plans and trying to get better.
“Walgreens uses their anti-viral medication as an indicator of if people are buying a lot of that type of medication if they’re prescribed that medication,” Knox County Health Department’s Roberta Sturm said. “That’s their indicator of we’ve got a lot of flu activity going on.”
With Knoxville at No. 2 on the “Top 10 Designated Market Areas,” Sturm says the city has been lucky for the past two years since we experienced a mild flu season but that is changing.
Despite what Knoxville as a whole is seeing, there is some good news on the horizon. Knox County School leaders say they are not seeing a strong flu season.
“It came a little earlier this year but it’s pretty normal,” said Lisa Wagoner, Knox County Schools’ health services supervisor. “Everywhere’s got hit earlier.”
Although that’s good news, the bad might outweigh it.
According to the CDC, the number of flu-related hospital admissions “almost doubled” compared to the week before. That’s why health experts, and Peggy Davis, say it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
“Please, please, please, please get the flu shot,” Davis said.
For more information about this year’s flu season, visit the Knox County Schools website.