LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Last year, flu season started about two months early in the Natural State, so the Arkansas Pharmacist Association is trying to get ahead of this year's strain with the help of First Lady Ginger Beebe.
Eric Crumbaugh works for the Arkansas Pharmacist Association. He said the fact that they have already gotten reports of flu cases in the state should alert people because flu season peaked in October last year, rather than the usual January or February.
"So that is another reason why it's very important to get vaccinated now. It takes about two weeks to build up immunity [with] the flu vaccination," Crumbaugh explained.
Influenza in the U.S. results in about 200,000 hospitalizations and more than 25,000 deaths every year. About 40 percent of the state's population gets a flu shot, on par with other states.
First Lady Ginger Beebe stopped by the Channel 7 Studios Wednesday to get her regular flu shot. She said she's never had the flu because she gets the shot every year.
Beebe makes public appearances every week and said a quick flu shot not only protects her, but those around her.
"Very preventative and as a mother and grandmother, it is important that I take care of my health." She added, "It is so easy and I just want to tell everyone to be responsible for your own health and get a flu shot."
There is also a mist and a formulation for those allergic to eggs.
Crumbaugh said some people touch their face thousands of times a day. It is an easy way to catch or spread the flu after shaking hands or touching a surface or object with the flu virus.
The shot cost less than $30 at a doctor's office or pharmacy. Stay with KATV for information on free flu clinics coming up.
For more details on prevention, treatment and symptoms, click here.