Metro Detroit doctors say be on high alert for flu

You might think we're in the clear when it comes to the flu, but not so. In fact, the CDC says flu activity is still widespread over the country. 

Metro Detroit doctors say we need to be on high alert. 

"Kind of probably over the last 3 or 4 weeks, we've definitely seen a big bump of people coming in with flu," says Dr. Rita Patel, a pediatrician with Beaumont Health. 

For some patients, the flu can be dangerous. 

"They won't eat; they'll get dehydrated; they've got high fevers; and so they're sort of losing a lot of fluids. Sometimes respiratory issues, if they've got asthma sometimes that will flare. Sometimes you just get so sick you can't manage it at home," Dr. Patel says. 

How do you know if you have the flu? 

Fever and body aches are big red flags. If you can treat your managable symptoms you don't have to go to the doctor. Influencza is a respitaory virus so there's not a lot doctors can do. 

"We don't really have a lot of treatment options for the flu; basically Tamiflu is the only potential treatment and even that, it doesn't actually cure the flu, it just shortens the illness by a day or so," Dr Patel says. 

It's still not too late to get a flu shot, and it's proving to be about 50 percent effective. 

"If you get the vaccine you're about half as likely to get sick as if you didn't get the flu shot," Dr. Patel says.

Keep in mind, the flu is transmitted through respiratory droplets. So if someone is blowing their nose or coughing or sneezing, then whatever they touch from there could spread the virus. That's why hand washing is so important.

Also keep in mind, you get sick about four days after you've been exposed.