SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (01/12/2018) Experts are calling this flu season one of the worst in almost a decade, and locally, hospitals are feeling the effects as well.
Compared to past years, Cox South reports that they have seen a 20% jump in flu patients visiting their ER.
"Over the last couple weeks, we've definitely noticed a pretty significant increase in the influenza patients we've been seeing in the emergency department," said Adam Stuppy, an ER Attending Physician at Cox South.
The hospital says that because this year's flu shot has a little less coverage, more people are falling victim. They also added that this year's strains of the flu are appearing more aggressive than usual.
"It's just more infective so people are increasingly susceptible to it and it makes people a little more sicker than usual," said Stuppy.
While there is no age limit on the flu, this year's virus is hitting the very old and the very young the hardest.
So how do you know if it's just a case of a seasonal cold or something more serious?
"Fever, body aches, joint pains, sore throat, some nausea and vomiting, headache, those are all common with the flu," stated Stuppy.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, experts say it's best to visit to your doctor as soon as possible, as the flu is best treated within the first 48 hours.
According to Stuppy, there's little evidence to suggest the flu season is close to being over, so he said to make sure you are still taking preventative measures to keep from getting sick. He added that best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu vaccine. While it doesn't guarantee you won't get the virus, it does lessen your chances.