Flu watch in East Tennessee

Knoxville (WVLT) -- An outbreak of illness at several schools in Loudon County kept students home from school Monday.

Loudon County school leaders say 18 to 20 percent of students district-wide were absent Friday.

East Tennessee Children's Hospital doctors say they have seen an influx of children over the past week, complaining of upper respiratory problems and flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Ryan Redman with Children's Hospital says, "Yeah, we're a couple weeks late on the flu season this year from when it traditionally starts. However, once it hits it usually hits pretty hard and over the past several days, we've started to see a lot more positive flu tests that are coming back."

Knox County health leaders largely credit the mild flu season so far to the mass immunization of school students, with the nasal spray vaccine, Flumist.

It's never too late to get vaccinated, but it does take two weeks to develop immunity, so be sure to remind your children to use especially good hygiene until the end of flu season.

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