JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas and Missouri are seeing some regional outbreaks of the flu, but for Arkansas this could be elevated to a widespread outbreak by sometime this week.
Doctors say there's no need to panic, but now it's escpecially important to try to stop the spread of the virus.
Does that mean you need to get a flu shot?
"It's usually given a few weeks before to protect you," said Dr. Joseph Kosinsky, of St. Bernards. "It's kind of late in the game because flu season is here."
Flu shots are normally given in the months October through December, but it's in the month of February that doctors say they see the most patients with the flu.
"In winter months it's easier to spread," said Dr. Kosinski. "People are in their house more and the lower humidity in your household helps spread it too."
That's why healthcare professionals say it's especially important to get yourself checked out if you feel any sort of sickness coming on.
"You could have it and not even know it, but then it really hits you," he said.
Taking a hit from influenza, comes with a laundry list of symptoms.
"High fever, chills, aches and pains. Some people say it feels like a mac truck hit them."
So let's say you didn't get that flu shot?
"If you get the flu there's medicine that we can use to treat it so all is not lost."
Here are a few tips that could help you avoid getting the flu:
1. If you're sick stay home
2. Wash your hands .. A lot
3. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough
4. Avoid shaking hands