DETROIT (WWJ) The Michigan Health Department says the state now has more than 300 confirmed cases of the flu — though experts say that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg because doctors say cases often go unreported.

Friday, WWJ listeners had their flu questions answered live by a team of specialists from Detroit Medical Center, including Dr. Katie Dobratz and Dr. Bruce Terrio.

“Some people were asking questions about treating the flu, what to do, there is a retro-viral called Tamiflu that can help shorten the course of the flu,” Dr. Dobratz said, adding Tamiflu is most effective when it is started within 48 hours of the first flu symptoms.

And Dr. Terrio said despite perception, it’s very rare to have a bad reaction to the flu shot.

“Serious reactions to the flu shot are extremely rare, I’ve been giving the flu shot in my practice for decades and I’ve never had a serious reaction to it,” Dr. Terrio said. “But I’ve seen and heard (of) multiple complications from people who didn’t get the flu shot and had serious cases of the flu.”

Twenty kids have died from the flu this year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Officials say flu is widespread in 47 states — including Michigan.

Dr. Terrio had this advice on what to look out for: “Certainly look for symptoms such as fevers that aren’t going away quickly, like over 100 degrees, look for symptoms like difficulty in breathing and mental status changes where they’re very lethargic, at that point you need to contact your health care professional.”

The CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.


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