Cases of the influenza already being reported; doctors urge patients to get flu shots now


Flu season in Arkansas is just getting started, but doctors have already been busy diagnosing flu cases.

Doctor David Gerson with Baptist Health's Sherwood Family Medical Center says, "About two weeks ago, we had our first case and we've been diagnosing about two to three a day per provider, and we have about 8 providers here."

The symptoms of the flu aren't subtle: body aches, chills, high fever, coughing and more. The most vulnerable patients are the very young and the elderly. That's why doctors urge everyone from six months and older to get the flu vaccine, and if you're 65 or older... a vaccine booster. Gerson says, "It's a high dose flu shot. it's the same flu shot. We just give you extra antigen. We've heard that's helpful for our elderly patients. 65 and older it's routine, we give you a high dose flu shot."

Dr. Gerson says despite what some might think, it's impossible to get the flu from the flu vaccine. When it comes to predicting the strains we'll see , he says scientists ususally do a great job of predicting. "Usually we see about 70-80 percent success rate. that's really good for any vaccine." says Gerson.

Doctors typically recommend patients get the vaccine by the end of October, but with so many cases already being diagnosed and a two week period for the vaccine to start working, they're urging you to get them sooner rather than later.

Gerson adds, "The earlier you get the flu shot, you can be rest assured you probably won't get the flu from being exposed."

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