Tyler Tx, (KETK) — It's been a bad flu season so far, and experts predict it will stay that way. The flu kills thousands of people every year and continues to claim lives, even right here in East Texas.
It kills about 35,000 people a year and this year, the H1N1 strain has killed one person in Nacogdoches and two in Gregg County.
"The flu is like sandpaper it's like somebody injected sandpaper through your veins. everything hurts. Everything is being irritated," said ETMC Regional EMS Medical Director Dr. William Moore.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Texas is the worst in spreading the flu.
"It's pretty widespread right now, it seems like the flu season started in Texas and it's kind of a prolonged flu season," said Pharmacist Brad Martin.
Experts say flu season in East Texas usually peaks the end of January beginning of February. But, this year, the flu season came a month early.
"I don't think that we had enough people getting immunized and the sudden onset of cold weather was a little bit unexpected," said Public Health Coordinator Russell Hopkins.
Even though Hopkins said its still to early to tell if this will be the worst flu season, emergency rooms have seen a spike of people sick with the virus. ETMC's seasonal flu patients tripled from the beginning of December to the end.
"The flu test is showing us its going up we haven't seen it turn the corner and going down yet so we can only project it will keep going up," said Moore.
Dr. Moore said the number went from 20 to 60 patients in 3 weeks. So medical experts suggest get your flu shot before they run out.