According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country is entering its earliest flu season in 10 years.
Neighboring states like Arkansas and Texas are experiencing the worst of the early start but officials say Oklahoma flu cases are on the rise.
The last week of November, there were eight Oklahomans hospitalized because of the flu.
EMSA says they’ve seen a spike in flu-related calls within the last week.
It takes about a couple of weeks for the flu shot to start protecting you from the flu virus.
Christmas just happens to be two weeks away.
Doctors don’t want flu shot myths scaring people from getting one soon.
Dr. Stephen Prescott, President of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), said this year’s flu virus is intense, carrying muscle pain, fever and gastrointestinal issues, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to dehydration.
“If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, get it today,” Prescott said. “If you can’t get it today, get it tomorrow.”
He said this year’s shot has been very effective at protecting people against the flu.
For those who think they don’t need the shot since they never get the flu, Dr. Prescott reminds us that anyone can get the flu.
“Don’t think that you’re superman or superwoman because you haven’t had it the last few times,” he said. “Protect yourself and your family. Get immunized.”
And for those who think the flu shot gave them the flu, Dr. Prescott said that’s impossible… because the vaccine virus is already dead.
Patients might have a sore arm or slight fever from the shot, or it may be coincidental timing.
“Well, they might have gotten exposed to the flu the day before they got the flu shot, and they got the flu, but it wasn’t from the shot.”
Some may qualify for free flu shots at your local health department.
Elderly residents and children are especially at risk for the flu.
A flu shot is the best protection, but getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet and taking a multi-vitamin also helps your immune system.
Since most flu infections are spread by germs on hands, Dr. Prescott said you can’t wash your hands enough.