Flu season peaks early, experts say to act fast

Health Check

FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – With flu season picking up steam, experts suggest now is the time to act.

“There’s still plenty of time to get vaccinated and for your body to build up immunity before the season goes into top gear,” Dr. Richard Webby, an infectious disease expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said.

The Shawnee County Health Department started giving flu shots early this year, hoping more people would get the vaccination. With flu season peaking early, Webby said it’s important to take proper precautions to keep more than just yourself safe.

“You’re actually less likely to spread the virus if you’re vaccinated,” Webby said, especially around the holidays. “We’re all moving, visiting friends, family.”

People at higher risk from the flu include those with compromised lungs and people from both ends of the age spectrum.

“The elderly in the community whose immune symptoms aren’t as robust as they used to be, very young children whose immune system haven’t built up immunity to the flu yet are also susceptible,” Webby said.

There are other simple steps you can take to protect yourself and the people around you alongside getting the flu shot. These include washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. It’s also a good idea to stay home when you are not feeling well, to avoid spreading illness at work or school.

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