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Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 -- 2:04 PM

We should be getting into the flu season pretty soon, but there?s been a lot less hype than last year.

Area residents have avoided the seasonal flu? so far.

"We haven't seen anything yet this year in our area, and I haven't heard that they've found any in other parts of the state, either," says Cindy Woldt-Schmidt, a Family Nurse Practioner with Memorial Medical Center in Greenwood

The flu season can run from December through March. The illness can be deadly, especially to the very old, very young and those with preexisting conditions.

"People get a fairly high fever, body aches to the point where it will hurt to even touch their hair, headaches, a pretty severe cough and fatigue to the point of exhaustion," Woldt-Schmidt explains.

Last year at this time, everyone was petrified about the spread of H1N1. Woldt-Schmidt worries that this calm after the storm could have people a bit off-guard.

"We haven't much publicity at all. There have been very few newscasts at all about the flu season in general. People haven't been in to get their flu shots as heavily as the previous year," she notes.

The good news is there?s still time and plenty of vaccines available. You should call your local health care provider to schedule a vaccination, especially if you?re in those ?at risk? groups. Woldt-Schmidt says they vaccinations are usually covered by insurance and the protection kicks in about three weeks after the treatment.

By the way, just because there?s no confirmed influenza out there doesn?t mean people aren?t getting sick. Woldt-Schmidt says they've seen a lot of stubborn bronchial infections and stomach flu cases in recent weeks.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.