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Flu Not Only Illness Plaguing West Tenn.

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - West Tennessee doctors say the flu needs to be taken seriously, especially this year.

For some of their patients, the flu is even turning into something worse. Dr. John Michael Briley, D.N.P. said this is the worst flu season he has seen in his 18 years of practice. "This has been a difficult year so far," Dr. Briley said. "We are seeing it much earlier, and the flu cases are coming with a greater vengeance, it appears."

Dr. Briley said he has 28 confirmed cases so far this week, and the numbers are rising.

Some of his patients are coming in thinking they have the flu, but it turns out to be something else like mononucleosis. Mono is also viral, and can mimic the flu.

Mono patients have symptoms like low-grade fever and no energy.

"The incidents of that is much greater than throughout the entire year, and I think it has a lot to do with the environment we're in, the close quarters," Briley said.

For some, the flu is turning into pneumonia.

Dr. Briley said the influenza is so bad this year, that about 18 percent of his patients who had flu shots, still got the flu. But he still recommends getting a shot.

He said the symptoms are not as severe for those who have had a shot. "Many times the fevers aren't as high, they have a low-grade fever, and they don't have the horrible headache that goes along with folks who weren't immunized," said Dr. Briley

According to Dr. Briley, the key to not getting the flu is to wash your hands often, and try to stay away from people who have the flu.
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