Tennessee already in ‘elevated’ flu level as holidays approach

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Doctors and health experts stressed the importance of folks getting vaccinated before January when the peak flu season hits.

"Right now were seeing aftermath of Thanksgiving," Dr. Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group said. "Families come together, share viruses and bacteria. We’re seeing a lot of sinus infections and bronchitis."

The Centers for Disease Control already reports region four, which includes Tennessee, is already at an elevated level.

Shelby County Health Department officials said they don't test for influenza and only monitor for flu-like symptoms, so they don't know how many cases come specifically from Memphis.

But December is when the flu ramps up. It then hits hardest in the new year.

"Often times it's about people coming together all over country [for the holidays]. All those people coming in town with viruses you’re not accustomed to," he said.

"It's not too late for people to get influenza shots. We recommend every year," said Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department.

Experts urged people to wash their hands and get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around you. They stressed germs travel through touch and close proximity.