TERRE HAUTE —
The U.S. flu season is off to an early start, and the flu strains circulating now tend to cause more severe illness, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control.
While Indiana and Vigo County aren’t experiencing high numbers of flu cases so far, local health officials are urging people to get flu vaccines.
“The best protection against the flu virus is to get your flu shot, and the next best protection against the virus is washing your hands regularly,” said Sydney Elliott, health educator with the Vigo County Health Department.
The Health Department Clinic has flu shots available for $20, cash only, for patients ages 4 years and older. People should call 812-462-3431 to schedule an appointment. They also can contact their own healthcare provider.
While the flu making the rounds is more severe, the good news, according to the CDC, is that this year’s vaccine is “well-matched” to this year’s flu viruses.
According to Elliott, flu symptoms this year include fatigue, extreme body aches, loss of appetite, upper respiratory symptoms and fever of 104 degrees and up (potentially higher for children).
She urged people not to procrastinate. “If people don’t get it [flu shot] now and wait until February or March, it will be too late,” and they’ll be more likely to get infected, she said. Elliott anticipates flu season in Indiana will start to peak in February.
People don’t get the flu from the vaccine, she said, although some people might experience a sore arm, low-grade fever or headache.
UAP Clinic has not had anyone test positive for the flu at this time, said Kristi Whitacre, marketing and public relations manager at the clinic, who contacted family medicine and pediatric departments Tuesday.
The CDC indicates that currently flu activity is most intense in south-central and southeastern states.
For more information about the U.S. flu season, go to www.cdc.gov/flu.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@