Doctors are seeing an increase in flu cases

Doctors are seeing an increase in flu cases

PORTLAND, Ore. - Cases of the flu are spiking both locally and nationally and while the reason isn't entirely clear, doctors believe the mild weather we've had the past few months may have delayed its onset.

Doctors believe the increase may also be due to fewer people getting vaccinated against the virus.

"The reality is we are all exposed to viruses every day," said Dr. Alejandro Kitzis, an emergency room physician at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. "You can pass it along before you even really know you have it and likewise, even when you think you're over it."

Doctors say if you're sick, don't be a hero at work - stay home. That way you'll keep the germs from spreading further.

You should see a health professional if you have a fever that lasts longer than four to five days, are having trouble breathing or you're just not getting better.

It's also a good idea for people in high risk groups - like very young or old patients, or those with underlying health conditions like lung or heart disease - to be seen by a doctor if they are experiencing a stubborn case of the flu. That way doctors can see if it has developed into a more serious infection.

Graph courtesy of Providence Health Services