The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) said they are receiving large numbers of reports of flu infections and hospitalizations from all regions of the state and is aware of seven deaths from the flu.
Th ADH recommends the flu vaccine, calling it "the single best protection against the flu and is very effective in preventing flu infections, hospitalizations, and deaths."
The vaccine provides a reportedly 60-80 percent protection against the flu and provides roughly 70-90 percent protection against flu-related hospitalization.
Those most at risk for severe flu-related complications include:
children under the age of 5
people 65 years or older
people with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, or weakened immune systems
Do you have the flu?
Symptoms include cough, high fever, headache, and/or muscle aches. Children flu symptoms may also include vomiting or diarrhea.
The ADH is reminding folks that while it's not too late to get the vaccine, it takes 10 days to two weeks to become effective and it is not too late to get vaccinated - so the earlier, the better.
Flu vaccines are available at local health units, private doctor's offices, pharmacies, and major retailers statewide.