Expect extra nasty flu for this season
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Doctors say it's not the weather that gives you the flu-- but when it prompts you to pack in, in close quarters, you start swapping germs and getting sick.
This year's flu season is kicking off sooner than usual, and this year's flu strain is likely to make you feel sicker.
The flu is a miserable, but preventable, experience. It's downright dangerous for high risk groups like the old, the young and people with certain illnesses, and the extra nastiness of this year's strain is an extra incentive to get that flu shot.
For some people it's an annual argument they have with themselves: accept the short term pain of a flu shot, or skip it, and risk a bout of the flu.
Nancy Thompson has already gone for the shot.
"I've seen the flu and it can be pretty darned bad. So of us, I can't really afford to get sick for very long."
This year there's an extra incentive. The strain of the flu the Center for Disease Control expects this season, is a rough one.
Michael Acoba tracks contageous illnesses for the Pima County Health Department. He says, "They're saying that the people with that are showing more severe signs and symptoms."
Acoba says Pima County has three or four suspected flu cases so far. A map from the CDC shows the early flu hot spots are in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
For Arizona, flu cases are showing up a little earlier than usual. But that's no indication how long the flu season will last.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Acoba: "So an early start doesn't necessarily mean an extended season?
Acoba says, "No, if we're lucky, an early start could mean an early end."
Some people believe the shot makes them sicker than the flu. Health experts say for some people your arm might get sore, or you might drag, or have a low fever for short time, but it's nothing compared to a case of the flu.
A few years ago Arizona passed a law that may reduce the spread of the flu here. Lawmakers allowed pharmacies to give flu shots. That ability to just walk in, instead of waiting for an appointment may lead to more people getting their shots.