Doctors seeing flu cases early this year in Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Doctors here in the Mid-South are already seeing cases of the flu, which is a lot earlier than it’s been in recent years.

They’re urging everyone to get the flu shot, as the flu kills thousands of people every year and there’s no telling how long it’ll last this season.

Dr. Mark Castellaw says they’ve been staying busy these past few weeks with patients.

“It’s not the cold weather that really gets you sick, it’s the cold weather drives everybody indoors and being with other people; that’s what gets you sick," said Dr. Castellaw.

He says they’re starting to see cases of the flu, which is about four months earlier than they’ve seen it in recent years in Memphis.

“The flu is here, but also here at the same time is what I call the 'Memphis crud,' which is sinus infection, bronchitis, fever, so a lot of people come in thinking they have the flu, of course we test them and make sure, but it’s really this 'Memphis crud' they have going on.”

With all the sicknesses going around, he says it’s not only helpful to wash your hands and keep your spaces sanitized, but to also get your flu shot.

“The most important thing folks can do is get a flu shot. There’s still plenty of time to get one.”

They no longer have the nasal spray option because it was getting people sick, but he says the flu shot doesn’t have that same risk.

“The flu shot does not give you the flu, no more than a tetanus shot would give you tetanus.”

The flu can be deadly for thousands of Americans each year, so certain age groups will get a stronger flu shot. The shot’s never a guaranteed prevention, but doctors say it will lessen symptoms either way.

After getting the flu shot, it takes about two weeks to become fully effective, so doctors say to get it sooner rather than later.