Health officials are preparing for what could be the worst flu season in a decade.
More than 2,340 people have already been diagnosed with the flu in Maryland and the season continues until April.
Six-year-old Andrew Tucker was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital after being diagnosed with the flu at the pediatrician's office.
"I was coughing, I was sneezing and I was throwing up," Tucker says.
Aaron Tucker knows it will be days before his son feels better.
"They broke his fever, and that's a good thing," says Aaron Tucker. "It was 102 [degrees] at the worst."
Emergency room visits at Maryland hospitals are steadily increasing this flu season. In Shady Grove's pediatric emergency rooms, they are up 25 percent, and adult visits have spiked between 10 and 20 percent this flu season. Symptoms are very severe this year.
"We're seeing high fevers, muscles aches, headaches, coughing," says Dr. Erik Schobitz, Medical Director of Shady Grove's Pediatric ER. "It's not something that will go away in a day or two either. If you're lucky, you'll be better in five to seven days. But for some people, it's two to three weeks of feeling lousy."
It is not too late to protect yourself.
"The best thing to do is get a flu shot," Dr. Schobitz says. "It doesn't give you the flu and it's not too late. Flu season goes until April."
Not everyone who gets sick needs to see a doctor. If you feel ill, you should drink plenty of fluids, take Tylenol or Ibuprofen and rest.
But if your child experiences respiratory ailments, it's time to head to the ER. Adults with chest pain or shortness of breath should head to the emergency room too.
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