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Sam Penrod ReportingA warning today from doctors that the flu is not only here, it’s spreading fast. Doctors are not only surprised with how many cases they are seeing, but also by the different types of flu that are out there.
In Salt Lake County alone, the number of flu cases is at 372 and 20-percent of those infected have required hospitalization. This time last year no flu cases were reported, leaving doctors convinced that this year the flu season is not only early, but on its way to being severe.
At one IHC Instacare clinic doctors say they are seeing an unusually high number of patients with the flu this early in the season. In recent days the numbers of people with flu symptoms has kept rising.
Dr. Holly McCoy M.D, Clinic Physician: "We really don't usually see the flu season until December. But in the Instacare yesterday alone, I probably saw ten to 12 patients that had the flu."
Doctors say patients who have flu-like symptoms should seek medical treatment within 48 hours of the symptoms appearing to help shorten how long they will be sick.
Dr. Holly McCoy M.D, Clinic Physician: "Typically a flu patient will have general body aches all over, high fever, cough, runny nose, feel like a cold, but more severe."
Since November 1st, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department has confirmed 372 cases of the flu, one in five patients have been hospitalized. Primary Chidren's hospital has seen 155 cases; both children and the elderly are especially susceptible to the flu. And while the strains of the flu appear to be drifting from the flu vaccine, doctors still believe getting a flu shot is your best defense to staying well.
And to make their point, health officials say that of those who've already contracted the flu, 97- percent did not get a flu shot.
Again, doctors emphasize that it is not too late to get a flu shot to have that added protection during this year’s flu season.