Public health officials say it is not too late, get a flu shot

(KATV) The Arkansas Department of Health warns that the flu is causing severe illness to adults between the ages of 25 and 50 years old.

Peak flu season is January and February. Flu shots take about two weeks to take effect and doctors say it's not too late to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after a flu shot, antibodies are developed that provide protection against infection.

Dr. Dirk Haselow is the state epidemiologist with the Department of Health. He says "Unfortunately we expect more deaths."

The flu is widespread, according to the Centers for Disease Control. "Widespread" means that more than 50 percent of geographic regions in a state -- counties, for example -- are reporting flu activity. It addresses the spread of the flu, not its severity.

Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone six months and older, especially pregnant women and those at high risk of complications, including the elderly, children younger than five years and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

Flu is peaking, but sometimes it's tough to pinpoint what is making you feel under the weather. An easy way to tell if you have the flu is by spelling out the word "F.A.C.T.S."
F - Fever A - Aches C - Chills T - Tiredness S - Sudden Onset

If you're vomiting it's most likely not the flu, but some sort of stomach bug. Doctors say colds are quantified by a stuffy nose, sore throat, and maybe hoarseness. If you experience any kind of sickness, go to the doctor right away to avoid worsening symptoms. There are some medications to help ease the effects of influenza.

Doctors with the Arkansas Department of Health are holding a press conference this afternoon. For details, watch Channel Seven at 5 & 6.

Related KATV stories:

Jan. 2: Family of flu death victim in Arkansas speak out

Dec. 30: Deadly start to Arkansas flu season