Flu season expected to be bad this year

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - This flu season is expected to get worse and it's already concerning to doctors in northeast Arkansas.

Despite getting the vaccine, many people are still getting infected with the flu, Dr. Shane Speights, Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Bernards told Region 8 News.

Speights explained there are various types of flu strands included in the vaccine when it's manufactured, but this year's medication doesn't include the specific strain that's going around.

"Sometimes there will be a little bit of a change in the genetic code and now all of a sudden it's a different type of virus than the vaccine was set up for," said Speights.

Despite the differences, Speights said he still believes the vaccine is effective.

"It (flu shot) still can diminish how severe the influenza is, but it's probably not going to be as good as if it was an exact match."

He said it generally takes vaccine manufacturers about six to nine months to create the vaccines. The vaccines are usually made just before flu season.

"They have to try to figure out which one (flu strain) is going to be most common to cause the most trouble during flu season."

Speights says when you get vaccinated, it will take some time for it to become effective.

"You have to wait about two weeks for your body to kind of react to it," he said.

He also stressed the importance of timing when it comes to anti-flu medication and recommends people get the medication within 48 hours of first noticing symptoms.

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