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Have you received your flu vaccine yet? If so, you're most likely equipped to handle the strain of flu that is rapidly spreading across East Texas. If not, it's not too late to get the shot, but after receiving it, it could take up to two weeks to provide you with the adequate protection that you need to protect yourself from the influenza virus.

Currently, East Texas, including Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, and surrounding areas, is the epicenter when it comes to the flu outbreak in the U.S. According to the Walgreens Flu IndexTexas ranks number one when in flu activity and the Tyler-Longview metro area, including Lufkin and Nacogdoches, is at the top of the list with reported flu cases.

East Texas Ranks No. 1 For Flu Activity

Several school districts around the area have cancelled classes for a couple of days to help prevent the flu from spreading throughout the student body. Businesses are reporting more employees calling in sick while visits to the doctor's office are on the rise.

The Top 10 U.S. Markets With High Flu Activity:

1. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas
2. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
3. Corpus Christi, Texas
4. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas
5. Oklahoma City, Okla.
6. San Antonio, Texas
7. Lafayette, La.
8. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.
9. Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Miss.
10. Monroe, La.-El Dorado, Ark.

How Is The Flu Index Created?

The Walgreens Flu Index provides state and market-specific information regarding flu activity and is compiled using retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure the absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per-store average basis and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.

The Flu Index is not intended to illustrate levels or severity of flu activity, but rather, illustrate which populations are experiencing the highest incidence of flu. (Walgreens)

If you're wondering if you have the flu or just a common cold, the CDC says these are the symptoms that people often feel when they have the flu:

  • Fever*/feeling feverish or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*not everyone with the flu will experience a fever

Both the common cold and the flu have extreme similarities, but flu symptoms are far worse than the common cold. In addition, there are quite a few respiratory illnesses in circulation now. Practicing good hygiene and receiving the vaccine are a couple of key ways to stop the spread of the flu virus.

If you are sick or have symptoms you should do the following:

  • avoid close contact with others
  • stay at home and out of the public
  • cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
  • avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
  • wash your hands

Doing these things can slow down and stop the spread of the flu virus around East Texas.

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