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'I've felt it a lot in my practice': Doctors warn of recent flu spike

Doctors say state and national numbers also reflect an increase in cases for both adults and children.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With colder weather comes the onslaught of flu season. 

For weeks now, doctors have been warning of the potential impact of the flu - coupled with RSV and lingering COVID-19 cases. 

Norton Healthcare has seen a rapid escalation of flu cases in the past few weeks. Doctors say state and national numbers also reflect an increase in cases for both adults and children.

"I've felt it a lot in my practice, it really seems to have spike[d] quickly in the last couple of weeks," Dr. Heather Felton, with Norton's Children's Hospital, said. 

Two weeks ago, there were 1,500 cases systemwide at Norton. Last week officials say they saw 2,200 cases, and so far this week they say there have been 750 cases. 

Doctors say they knew the strong flu season was coming. 

"We kind of predicted the strain this year would be worse and we anticipated a worse flu season. I was even hearing that as far back as this summer," Felton said. 

RELATED: The flu is an epidemic in the US, and that normally happens each year

Felton says the flu is starting to surpass RSV, which was a big concern for the hospital system just a few weeks ago. She said some patients also test positive for several illnesses at the same time. 

"Not necessarily always COVID, flu or RSV, but there are thousands of possibilities and they'll come back positive for two or three," Felton said. 

If you're high risk, Dr. Mary Rademaker, also with Norton, says the first flu season during the pandemic was an example of the "power of masking." 

"In the flu season of 2021 we didn't have any influenza, so it tells you what a difference it can make," Rademaker said. 

If you're already sick, she says staying home for the holidays is best. 

Health officials urge people to get their flu vaccine now as we head into the holiday season, even if it may not be full effective by Thanksgiving. 

“It takes about two weeks for your body to develop immunity after getting the vaccine, so just the sooner people can get it the better," Rademaker said. "Those are important preventative measures you can take so you don't have to miss a holiday," Rademaker said.

RELATED: Most flu shots do not contain mercury

A couple upcoming clinics Norton is offering are:

Saturday, Nov. 19, COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine clinic, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic – St. Matthews

1001 Breckenridge Lane, Suite 113

  • Ages 5 and older for COVID-19 Bivalent Booster
  • Ages 3 and older for flu vaccine
  • Appointment is required for COVID-19 Bivalent Booster; not for flu vaccine.
  • Ages 17 and younger must have a parent or guardian present.
  • Bring photo ID, your COVID-19 vaccination card if applicable and if you have insurance, your insurance card.

Sunday, Nov. 20, Walk-in flu shot clinic, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Norton Community Medical Associates – West Broadway

1720 W. Broadway, Suite 107

  • No appointment required
  • Available for ages 6 months and older. Ages 17 and younger must have a parent or guardian present.
  • Insurance is not required to get your flu shot. If you have insurance, bring your card with you.

Norton Healthcare offers multiple locations for people to get their vaccine. 

For more information, please visit Norton Healthcare's website.

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Contact reporter Grace McKenna at gmckenna@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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