Influenza already showing up in north Alabama

Updated: Sep. 23, 2019 at 6:51 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - There are several confirmed cases of influenza right here, right now in the Tennessee Valley.

Doctors at UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Center say there are about five flu cases, and it’s not even October.

Doctors at UAB, as well as members for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say even if you’re afraid of getting shots, you do not have an excuse from protecting yourself from influenza. You can get FluMist, which works like a nasal spray and it protects you just as much as the flu shot.

“In the past three to four years we had the intranasal option removed from the market. There needed to be some adjustments to the vaccine. So recently we only had the option of having the shot for influenza,” said Dr. Claudia Gaviria of UAB Huntsville Medical Center.

Doctors recommend everyone at least 6 months old get vaccinated.

Regardless of the method you choose, it will take several weeks for your body to build an immunity and protect you.

“When an individual or a patient gets the influenza vaccine, either through a shot or internasally, it takes two to three weeks for that patient to have immunity to the influenza,” said Gaviria.

There are a lot of strains of the flu, and doctors say the preventative measure is normally about 40 to 60 percent effective.

Last year, hundreds of lives were saved because of the decision to get the flu shot.

“It is estimated that the vaccine prevented about 7 million cases of influenza and about 8,000 deaths. So it’s important that we know that the vaccine not only prevents illness or makes the illness to be less severe then it would in a case where a patient did not have the vaccine, but it also prevents death,” said Gaviria.

There might not be one way to 100 percent protect yourself from getting the flu, but the flu shot definitely helps and all of the doctors we spoke with say it’s better to get it sooner rather than later.

Last year was one on the longest flu seasons, and some of the first cases were confirmed this same time last year. So it is recommended that you get vaccinated.

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