Flu season hits with a vengeance. News of that has people running to the public health department, doctors, pharmacies and clinics to get vaccinated.
Valley Immediate Care director Brent Kell confirms this flu season is hitting earlier than usual. It's catching many unprepared and unvaccinated. Kell said, "The last 10 years we haven't really seen the flu until mid-February or March. This year we started seeing it in mid-December.”
Flu season usually runs until early spring, so it's not too late to get your shot. However, it does take about two weeks to be fully effective.
If you do get the flu, there are antiviral drugs available, such as Tamiflu, which help curb the awful symptoms. But you have to act fast. Kell said, "If you get started on antivirals within the first two days you can really lessen your symptoms. If you wait four or five days into it, the antivirals aren't going to do you much good.”
Aside from the flu shot, the next best prevention is good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and hot water often. Avoid touching your face. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Finally, don't put others at risk. If you feel sick, stay home.