Waiting rooms full as TN, MS see spike in flu cases

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's been anything but a typical day inside the waiting room at the Methodist Medical Minor Center in Midtown.

"It`s starting to crank up. No question about it."

The surge in flu patients at the center was so great, Doctor Lloyd Finks said they're automatically treating anyone who shows the right symptoms.

"Your body hurts, your bones ache, you`re coughing, you have a headache — we presume that to be flu and we don`t even test for it," he said.

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Tennessee Flu Cases

Numbers from the Tennessee Health Department paint a grim picture. Flu cases have more than tripled the first week in February compared to this time last year in Shelby County alone.

"The flu is still something that will kill you. It`s — thousands of people still die every year from the flu," said Dr. Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group.

The flu has sent patients scurrying to local emergency rooms. Baptist Medical Group reported larger than usual numbers at both its Memphis and Desoto County ERs.

"A lot of offices are full, so people are having a hard time getting in, or they`re getting sick at night."

In some areas of the state, flu cases have tripled or even quadrupled compared to last year.

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Mississippi Flu Cases

In Mississippi, the increases are generally smaller, but still significant, and doctors said many of the people getting the flu this year, have been vaccinated.

"Sometimes you get the flu vaccine right, sometimes it`s not so right."

Doctors said they've even started seeing quite a few cases of upper respiratory disease. It's less severe than the flu, but more persistent. Coughs can last anywhere from five to seven weeks.

If you still need to get a flu shot contact the Shelby County Health Department. They will be providing free vaccines at all clinics while supplies last.

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