Flu cases on the rise in the Pine Belt

Family Nurse Practitioner Mary Armstrong at the Columbia Family Clinic said there has been a spike in flu cases. The first cases came early this year, so the flu season has been projected to be long.

Armstrong urged anyone with flu like symptoms to be tested immediately as influenza can be potentially deadly for very young and older people.

Flu shots are still available and although they don't always guarantee you won't get the flu, you are more likely to have a milder case of the illness.

"If you have signs of the flu like bad headache, high fever, and generalized body aches which is a big symptom, you need to come on in and get tested," said Armstrong. "The only treatment for the flu is Tamiflu and it is only effective if you start it in the first 48 hours of symptoms."

Children as young as six months old can get a flu vaccination, and all children should get two vaccinations their first year, according to Armstrong.