NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) — The Arkansas Department of Health reports 46 people, including a child, have died from flu-related illness since the end of September. The ADH reports the spread of the flu isn’t slowing down but is getting a flu shot in the midst of an outbreak still effective?
“The flu is different every year, it’s unpredictable so we never know when it is going to peak or when it is going to end,” said Walgreens Pharmacy Manager, Dr. Vanessa Owl
Owl said it’s not too late to get the flu shot. “In order for the flu medication to work you need to take it within 48 hours of getting symptoms so if you wait too long that medication is not going to be beneficial to you.”
According to the ADH more than 20,000 people have tested positive for influenza across the state since September. Owl said she is seeing more people experience symptoms for longer periods of time.
“I’ve had several patients come back a week two weeks later and they still have the cough and the sore throat.”
Owl said some people are turning to other types of medicine trying to get ahead of the virus. Immune system boosters like elderberry which contains vitamins and antioxidants are flying off the shelf this flu season.
“When you get the flu you end up getting several symptoms along with it so they look for a product where they can take one medication to take care of all of their symptoms.”
Owl recommends staying home from work or school if you feel sick to stop spreading the virus, drink plenty of water and practice good hygiene.
“Handwashing, using hand sanitizer, cleaning hard surfaces things like that are going to be beneficial,” said Owl.