Flu Season in Virginia Intensifies, Doctors Recommend Vaccine

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This year's flu season is getting worse and there are still weeks of suffering ahead.

New numbers are out from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as from hospitals in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. The statistics show that Virginia is facing widespread flu activity, and has been for about nine weeks.

The latest report from the CDC shows the flu season is continuing to intensify. Health departments track flu trends, but don't have specific numbers other than to say they are seeing widespread activity.

Numbers in the Thomas Jefferson Health District aren't as bad as in Northern Virginia, but health centers are still seeing a great amount of patients.

As of the end of January, Augusta Health has seen 821 flu cases across its system of doctors. The University of Virginia Medical Center reports 393 cases from January 8-28, and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital says it has dealt with 312 cases.

"I think what it comes down to is that it's really hard to track how many people actually have the flu,” says Kathryn Goodman, the spokesperson for the TJHD. “There's sometimes that people don't go to their doctor, they may have other symptoms that may not get diagnosed as the flu, so it's really hard for us to know exactly how many people have it, and that's why we always promote the prevention side of it."

The health department is still recommending that people get the flu vaccine since it’s now the peak of flu season and we can expect the sickness to linger for another few weeks.

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