FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Flu season is off to a slow start in most places, but a local pharmacist says don’t let that fool you.
“We have minimal activity, but don’t let that set you up,” Keith Larkin, owner of Medisav Homecare Pharmacy said. “I think you need to get that flu shot.”
Bob Marquette blames work and the holidays for not getting his vaccine yet.
“I normally get it in the fall, and for some reason, I've kind of forgotten,” Marquette said. “I'm planning in the next few weeks to get one.”
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, two people have been hospitalized for the flu so far this season. No deaths have been reported. However, in Oklahoma there have been 54 people hospitalized and one death.
“Of course our true flu season is from December to March,” Larkin said.
There are several myths when it comes to the flu virus. Many people believe the fluctuating temperatures cause us to get said, but Larkin said that’s simply not true.
"Another myth, used to be you [got a flu shot] because [the virus] peaked in four months," said Larkin, "and so we always said that people should come and get their flu shot by two weeks before Thanksgiving because that’s the most traveled holiday and then you would be prepared."
However, Larkin said today’s influenza vaccine is good for a year, but only 50 percent of the population who get the shot won’t get the flu.
“You either are already exposed to the flu, or the flu has mutated and you got a different strain,” Larkin explained.
Marquette told 5NEWS the flu shot has paid off for him for the past six years, but he, too, had his reservations.
“I remember years ago people used to be real apprehensive about it because they said if you got a flu shot, sometimes it actually increases your risk of getting the flu,” he said.
Larkin suggests calling your pharmacy ahead of time to make sure they have flu shots in stock. They aren’t as readily available as they were last month, but it only takes a few days for orders to arrive.