(CNN) – There is lots of sniffling, sneezing and coughing going on across the country. Health experts say flu season is here and it’s off to a strong start.
Get a flu shot. That’s the message from health experts at the CDC who say this is the earliest start to a flu season in about a decade. 41 states are reporting widespread flu cases. The CDC says more than 2,200 people have been hospitalized because of the flu; 18 children have died.
Where can I get a vaccination?
Residents of St. Louis can use Flu.gov’s flu shot locator for information on where to receive a seasonal flu vaccine in the metro area. Residents can also contact the agencies below for additional information:
- City of St. Louis Department of Health
- Franklin County Health Department
- Jefferson County Health Department
- St. Charles County Department of Community Health and the Environment
- St. Louis County Health and Wellness
Getting a flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu but it does offer protection against the virus. Getting the shot won’t give you the flu.
“When you get a flu shot you’re getting a dead virus so it can’t give you the flu but what it’s doing is activating your immune system, that’s what it’s supposed to do, it’s teaching your immune system to recognize that virus as a problem so when it sees it again it attacks it.” said Dr. Michael Jhung of the CDC.
Doctors point out that it takes two weeks for a flu shot to take full effect. It’s important to get vaccinated early in the season. CDC officials say the H3N2 virus is one of those circulating the United States. That virus has been linked to severe flu seasons in the past.
By: Ed Payne