Adults are being hit hard by the flu bug statewide. Seven of the 15 flu deaths in Arkansas this season are in the 25 to 50 age range, according to the Arkansas Department of Health
Doctors said they recommend that everybody of all ages get a flu shot. They said the most frequently-seen flu strain this year is the H1N1 virus, which mostly affects young to middle-aged adults and pregnant women.
“We have seen people with just the flu without any underlying medical problems,” said Dr. Amer Raza with Mercy Medical Center in Rogers. “That’s again the young patient population.”
Flu symptoms include fever, extreme fatigue and sore throat. Doctors said if not treated, the flu can cause respiratory failure.
Raza said the easiest way to prevent the flu is for potential patients to get vaccinated. He also said people can help reduce their risk of getting the flu by washing their hands frequently and avoiding those who are sick
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. Walgreen’s Pharmacy Manager Cassie McCullough in Fayetteville said it does not take much time to get a flu shot.
“You don’t have to make an appointment, so it’s really easy and accessible here,” McCullough said. “Usually it’s a five or ten minute wait, so you can stop on your lunch break or before or after work. It’s really fast.”
Laton Blackshear is one of many affected by the flu. Blackshear said a flu shot might have prevented him from getting sick and recommends others get one.
“They should get one, so they don’t end up like me with the influenza,” he said. “This is the worst thing I have ever had.”
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, only 30 percent of people 25 to 50 years old have been vaccinated against the flu this year. That leaves more than 650,000 unvaccinated Arkansans in this age range.