There is a flu epidemic across the nation and officials said those numbers are reflected right here in the Coastal Bend.

"It was 400 last year at this time, and it's almost 1,000 this year," City-County Health Director Dr. William Burgin, Jr. said.

This year's flu season is different.

"It's not only hitting the sick and the elderly and the very young, but it's hitting healthy people," Burgin said.

The flu season lasts from October to April or May, but federal health experts said this flu season might last another 13 weeks.

3News received a call from a viewer saying that visiting hours had been canceled at a local nursing home because of a large number of flu cases among the residents.

"It makes good sense that an institution that has patients who can't move around should take steps to prevent disease from coming in from the outside," Burgin said.

Several professionals said doctors and health care workers are getting sick despite shots and being careful. Even though the flu vaccine may only be 10-percent effective, Burgin said do not let that be an excuse not to get the shot.

"CDC recommends that you get it because it protects you against a number of flu strains. You need that protection," Burgin said.

The advice this year is to get a flu shot, avoid spreading the disease and see a doctor if you have symptoms.

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