NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Doctors office's across the State of Tennessee have been busier over the past few days, with people hoping it's not too late to get a flu shot.
Vanderbilt doctors said the flu is peaking earlier and is more severe this season. Already twelve people have died in Middle Tennessee. Hundreds more have been sent to the hospital.
The phones kept ringing at Pediatric Associates in Nashville. First thing Friday morning, Ellen Joiner was on the other line.
"(I) called as soon as they opened and came right over," Joiner said. "Every station we turned through last night, national and local the flu was number one on the news."
This month two children have died from the flu in Tennessee according to the Health Department. Most recently 11 year old Savannah Hyden from Hendersonville.
"Influenza is not quote just a cold," Pediatrician Dr. Mary Keown stressed. "Many parents who were hesitant or ...perhaps a little afraid of getting the flu vaccine because of their misinformation are now calling and saying 'oh please can we come in for a flu vaccine.'"
Appointments have more than tripled for the vaccine in the last 24 hours. While a cold usually involves a runny nose and maybe a cough, Dr. Keown explains the flu is much worse.
"You're not going to be able to pick your head up off the pillow," she said. "To quote one of my teenagers, ‘the inside of my eyelids hurt.' Yes you have the flu."
Doctors said the flu shot or mist is the best defense. While it may not prevent every strain of the virus, it can minimize the complications and it's not too late to protect yourself.
"I'd much rather see her kind of cry having to get a little spray or a little shot," Joiner said of her two year old daughter, "rather than have to hold her with 103 temperature for days."
The H1N1 flu virus has been what Vanderbilt doctors said is the most prevalent this year.
The good news is that this year's flu vaccine protects against it. When you get the shot, it will take two weeks to establish immunity.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.