Jan 10, 2013 7:13 PM by Erika Flores
TUCSON - If you're feeling sick or know someone who is, you're not alone.
The Arizona flu season has now moved into widespread status.
So far this season, 178 cases of the flu have been reported in Pima County.
In Pinal County, the number of cases is 41 so far this season, and for Cochise County, there have been 102 cases so far.
Emergency rooms are reporting an increase in patients with flu symptoms and it's only getting worse.
Thursday, UAMC treated five people with the flu and since just before Christmas.
Emergency rooms are filling up fast.
The Tucson Medical Center has treated 28 people with the flu since just before Christmas.
Cynthia Shaw takes all the precautions.
"I think that's really important to drink plenty of water," said Shaw.
But this year, she missed one.
"This was the first year I did not get a flu shot," said Shaw.
She had a 15-year flu-free streak but come Christmas time: "I didn't see the symptoms coming on until I was literally in bed, sick."
Cold sweats, low-grade fever, body aches and extreme fatigue.
"It hit really fast, and the fatigue was so overwhelming," said Shaw.
Last week alone, one thousand flu cases were reported in Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Health Services predicts that's only a fraction of the true number of cases since not everyone gets tested for the flu.
"We expect to see that trend go up," said Melissa Moreno, the director of patient care services at Tucson Medical Center.
Moreno said those with cold-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing and low-grade fevers can stay home and treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
"You want to make sure that those patients when they're having fevers greater than 102 and not being able to treat them with Tylenol, Motrin or they're having difficulty breathing, we definitely want those patients to go to the emergency department.=," said Moreno.
And for those who plan to keep their flu-free streak:
"The number one way is to get the flu vaccine, and of course, healthy diet, good rest. Cover your cough lots of good hand washing will help prevent the flu," said Pat Moore, manager of Minute Clinic.