Flu season taking hostages early this year

Flu season has hit early this year, earlier than it has in almost a decade. The flu usually peaks in February.

The Centers for Disease Control

says now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven't already.

"The peak last year was in March, so this is very early," Karen Spring, with Adams County Health Department said.

The Adams County Health Department began extra early with flu shot clinics this year in preparation for the unwanted holiday visitor.

"They'll have a cough, sneezing and then all of the sudden, you'll start with aches because it usually effects your whole body. And you're very tired. You feel so badly that you won't want to eat or drink but it's imperative that you drink a lot of fluids and rest," Spring said.

The CDC reports the highest number of cases have spread throughout the southern half of the country, but Karen Spring says the rush of holiday travelers could break that barrier pretty quickly.

"Right now, I've only had three cases laboratory reported," Spring said. "That doesn't mean there aren't other cases out there that have the signs and symptoms."

"Unfortunately, with the senior population, they may be more prone to getting the flu. We don't have any reportable cases here, but it's taking that extra precaution," Mike Duffy, with the Good Samaritan Home in Quincy said.

It takes about two weeks in your system before the flu vaccine truly starts to work. So it's important to go back to the basics as a backup.

"Washing your hands or using sanitizer, and if you have any symptoms, take care of yourself," Duffy said.

Staff at Good Samaritan Home aren't waiting for the bug to hit. They're giving out the vaccine for free.

"We offer it to all of our employees and we also offer it to all of our residents," Duffy said.

More than half of his residents have taken advantage of the flu shot as well as two-thirds of the staff. Duffy says more received their shots through other providers.

The Adams County Health Department is one of many clinics around town with the vaccine on hand and there's plenty to go around. Already, 2,500 people have received their flu shot at the health department.

"We have probably the most we've ever done, vaccines we've distributed already," Spring said.

Spring says it's proof more people are getting the message that this year's flu isn't one you'll want to mess around with.

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