With flu activity on the rise across the state, doctors are urging residents to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.
Dr. Tim Jones, state epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health, said the primary strain doctors are seeing now is the H1N1 that emerged in 2009 and 2010.
“One of the things that we noticed during the pandemic was that this strain tends to more severely effect slightly younger folks, sort of middle-aged adults,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that the rest of us are off the hook – it just means that the risk is sort of spread out more.”
Jones said the H1N1 strain is among those covered with this year’s flu vaccine.
It is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, and doctors said it’s especially important for those who have regular contact with high-risk populations.
That includes pregnant women, people with chronic health problems, young children and the elderly.
In addition to getting a shot, Jones said some basic hygiene can also help a person avoid getting the flu or spreading it to others.
“Washing your hands before and after contact with other folks,” he said. “If you are sick, do not go to school or work. Try to stay away from other folks until the sneezing and coughing is gone.”