Flu season is here; is there still time to get protected?

Medford, Ore. — Thousands of Oregonians are visiting the doctor’s office to see if their aches, fevers, and chills are in fact the flu. According to Oregon Health Authority, laboratories around the state have tested more than 8,000 specimens since the beginning of October, and doctors say they won’t be slowing down as we head into the holidays.

“Influenza like illness is on the rise, and those tests that are being done in the emergency department and doctor’s offices are increasingly positive so we are now in the flu season,” Dr. Jim Shames says.

The latest numbers from OHA show a growing number of influenza cases. Of the more than 8,800 specimens tested, 761 have been positive. Doctors say the season is shaping up to be similar to the one in 2014.

“Which peaked in January, February as opposed to the one we had last year which really peaked late in March,” Dr. Shames says.

At Providence Medford Medical Center, lab techs are processing anywhere from 5 to 10 flu tests a day, and they anticipate that number to increase as the flu season reaches it’s peak.

But if you want to avoid a trip to the doc altogether, Dr. Shames says it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“As far as we can tell the vaccine was a good match,” Dr. Shames says, “it’s not too late to get a flu shot, in fact I strongly encourage people to do so and do so soon.”

Dr. Shames says the flu shot is not as effective for the elderly, so if you don’t get a flu shot for you, get it for the sake of not passing the illness along to a more vulnerable population.


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