EDGEWOOD, Ky. - Shamon Shafer didn't feel well Tuesday, so he stayed home from Boone County High School and went to see Dr. Rob Tagher at Pediatrics of Florence.
Luckily, Shafer didn't have the flu. Instead, he joined a list of other children displaying a wide range of symptoms.
"Right now, we're seeing mostly upper respiratory infections, a lot of cough, a lot of cough that can last two or three weeks and bronchitis," said Dr. Tagher. "We have seen some whooping cough or pertussis as well."
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is predicting this will be a tough year for flu in the United States after a mild winter in 2011-2012.
Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director for the Northern Kentucky Health Department, said the numbers are already on the rise.
"We have seen a significant increase in the past week," she said. "We currently have 44 cases of flu compared to last year at this time we had six cases."
According to Dr. Tagher, flu typically starts out like a cold, but then can give the body an unwelcome extreme makeover.
"You kind of feel bad all over. You don't just get the upper respiratory symptoms. You tend to ache, headache, higher fevers 102 - 103. It kind of hits you like a truck, so to speak."
Both Dr. Tagher and Dr. Saddler stress the best flu prevention is immunization.
"It's not too early and you increase your chances of having no flu or a very mild case of the flu," Dr. Tagher said.
Dr. Saddler added, "A lot of folks are going to be out shopping -- out and about -- and flu shots are readily available in a number of places. Go ahead and give yourself a gift of a flu shot and keep yourself healthy this season."
They add don't forget to regularly wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home from work or school if you don't feel well.
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