At least two more Tennesseans have lost their lives to influenza this flu season. That's in addition to a Macon County pastor who died last month.
The two most recent deaths both occurred in Cookeville, and doctors worry it's only going to get worse. They're now hoping to spread a very important warning.
"In October, we had four cases. In November, we had 21. In December, we had 103. So there is a marked increase in the number of cases that we're having," said Dr. Mark Pierce with Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
The ages of those who died is surprising to even doctors. Typically, experts warn about infants and the elderly.
The recent victims were 36, 39 and 36 years old, respectively.
"That may relate to the fact that perhaps older people have immunity from prior exposure that younger people don't have," Pierce said.
The best thing to do about the flu is to prevent it.
Doctors say wash your hands, cover your cough and, most importantly, get your shot.
"It is not too late if you have not had a flu shot. You should definitely go get it," Pierce said.
As for why there have been so many serious cases this year in Cookeville, doctors say they really don't have an answer for that. The hardest hit regions, they say, tend to vary year to year. This year, the Upper Cumberland region and West Tennessee are getting hit especially hard.
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