This flu season more severe, widespread

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states at least 6.4 million people have already caught the flu this season in the United States.

Almost 2,100 people in Texas and almost 500 people in Oklahoma have been hospitalized.

The CDC states the 2017-18 season was the deadliest in years, and the 2018-19 season was the longest in the decade.

"It seems, at least subjectively that people are much sicker," said Dustin Elk, a nurse practitioner at Wilson N. Jones.

Elk has been a Nurse practitioner at Wilson N Jones for the last four years. He said normally around this time of year, they see cases of flu-type A. But this season, they are seeing stronger cases of Flu-type B, which is usually considered a less-severe strain of the virus.

"They have been much sicker this year, and not every flu-like case that I've seen or that we've seen have been that way," said Elk. "But it just seems that we've had several people who have been much more intensely sick with the flu this year."

Elk said at Wilson N. Jones, they have seen a spike in hospitalizations for the type B virus. He said in many cases, patients don't even realize they have the virus until it's too late, and they're too sick to simply go home and rest.

4,800 people have died from the virus in the U.S., 12 of which were in Texas including eight kids, and there are still five months left in this flu season.

Elk said some of the symptoms to look out for are high fever, cough, headaches and body aches. He said at the first sign of fever, you need to see your doctor.

Nurses said the best way to prevent yourself from getting the virus, or stop the spread of disease is to get your flu shot and to wash your hands with soap and water after every visit to a public place.