As the flu spreads across the U.S., Americans can’t seem to get a break from it — it's hitting offices, schools, stores and everywhere in between.

This year in particular has been a nasty year for those who have caught the flu, both in worsening symptoms and frequency of cases. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that the influenza-like illness has affected more than 32 states, including Kansas.

McPherson Hospital staff have seen multiple cases of Influenza A so far. Although flu season may be dwindling soon, it can still hang around until late winter and early spring months.

"November through February are the months we see the most influenza," said Hospitalist Dr. Petie Schwerdtfeger.

Calling the doctor's office can be critically important when flu symptoms invade your body, as most cases are infectious.

"Contact your doctor if you have persistent fevers, chills, body aches and shortness of breath. These area few things to let your doctor know about," Schwerdtfege said.

Another important tip to remember is getting the flu shot before flu season hits. Schwerdtfeger recommends getting the flut shot by October, but also added its not too late to get it.

"People should still get the flu shot as we see flu through February," Schwerdtfeger noted. "Respiratory flu is different than the GI bug that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea."

Schwerdtfeger also added that Tamiflu only shortens the length of symptoms and does not cure the flu.

Schwerdtfeger gave some tips and tricks to stay healthy during the flu season and to hopefully avoid it.

— Wash your hands well and frequently.

— Avoid those who are already sick.

— Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

— Get plenty of rest.

— Notify your doctor if you are sick.

For more information on how to stay healthy this flu season, call the McPherson Hospital at 620-241-2250 or visit their website at

Contact Brooke Haas by email at or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.