Doctors getting cases of flu days before official start of season

Doctors getting cases of flu days before official start of season
There are several confirmed cases of influenza in north Alabama. (Source: WAFF)

DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - We are days away from what’s considered the start of flu season and doctors are already starting to see cases trickle in.

“We have started to see people, a few isolated cases,” said Dr. Zach Mcleod, a pharmacist at Circle Pharmacy.

Dr. Bill Barron at Dothan Pediatric Clinic said his local office hasn’t seen any early cases of the flu, but they have had cases recently at the Enterprise location.

There are several confirmed cases in north Alabama.

Doctors said it’s tough to make solid predictions about trends for flu season but considering it doesn’t start until October and they’re already seeing cases, it’s best to get ready.

“Honestly, it’s like predicting hurricanes. You’re going to get a lot of predictions but you’re not going to know until it happens and so I think because of that we have to be prepared that it’s going to be early, long, and bad,” said Barron.

Doctors recommend getting the flu vaccine to protect yourself against the virus, whether your health is vulnerable or you consider yourself in top health.

“A lot of people think because they’re healthy, they don’t need the flu shot or don’t need to take preventative measures. It’s always important to prevent the flu for anyone," said McLeod.

The CDC recommends children as young as six months old get a vaccine. They say it’s better to get the vaccine in October because flu season peaks between December and February. The vaccine takes about two weeks to kick in and protect you, so if you get it early, you’ll be ready.

“We as physicians get them as soon as they come in. As soon as anybody can get the flu shot you’re better off. You don’t know when it’s going to hit. Going to the health department, your pediatrician. I would do it now,” said Barron.

Doctors also stress it’s important to get medical treatment early on if you start to experience symptoms. Flu symptoms include: Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue.

“With the flu it’s important to make sure you go to the doctor early because the treatments we have for the flu are most effective within 24 - 48 hours,” said Dr. Mcleod.

Dr. Mcleod says Circle Pharmacy will get its shipment of flu vaccines within the next two weeks.

If you’re in Houston County and need to get a flu shot, the health department is hosting a Flu Shot Clinic. It’s Oct. 3 and 4 from 8 - 4 p.m. at the Houston County Health Department. The address is 1781 E Cottonwood Rd. in Dothan.

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