NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The flu has already taken the lives of 20 children, and the season is far from over.
Doctors are saying this is one of the worst flu outbreaks in years, which is more reason why you should make sure your kids are protected.
At the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, doctors say they are not experiencing an overflow of children to the emergency room, but they are definitely seeing more patients than in years past, especially this early.
For parents like Sherry and Brandon Dorman, getting flu shots for their kids is a yearly routine. Brandon says, "I think it's a good idea to be proactive and protect the health of your children."
Evelyn Jasper is back at the hospital after her two young boys got sick days after getting the flu nasal spray. She says, "Since yesterday, they've been like this: lying around, tired, and don't want to walk."
The flu isn't just affecting kids, doctors are seeing flu-like symptoms in patients of all ages.
Dr. Joseph Gigante says the flu is showing up earlier and more severe, and highly recommended getting a flu shot, especially for kids. Dr. Gigante says, "Many people confuse the flu with the cold; whereas a cold makes you feel bad a couple of days and you can get better, the flu can kill you.
Doctors say it typically takes two weeks before the flu vaccine can fight off the virus, and say there's a 60 to 65 percent effectiveness in protecting you from getting the flu.