Arkansas Not on Track for Flu So Far

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- It seems some Arkansans are searching for the flu on-line.  According to Google, Arkansas is one of the top six states in the nation searching for the flu. 

We're about a month away from what the Arkansas Department of Health calls the true start of flu season.  A new venture of Google shows that more people are searching for flu related items in Arkansas and five other states than anywhere else.

"A lot of times great information is there sometimes it's not as accurate. It's interesting that so many from Arkansas are Googling the flu.  We've not yet seen an outbreak in Jonesboro," said Dr. Veryl Hodges of Clopton Clinic.

Doctor Hodges said diagnosing the flu is very specific and so far we're not seeing that here.  In fact the Arkansas Department of Health said so far they've had no confirmed cases of the flu.

"I have searched for different symptoms just trying to figure out what exactly I have," said Jodie Cherry.

There are a lot of people who use on-line sources to search for remedies or symptoms.  In fact, Dr. Hodges said its something a lot of his patients are doing.

"I have several patients that will do that and they'll come in with a list and ask questions about symptoms.  Actually a lot of them are in their seventies and eighties that are doing that," said Hodges.

"Maybe it's our elderly or aging population.  I wonder if they're frightened and if maybe they're afraid of the flu or maybe they're getting some education and they're talking amongst themselves and wanting to know where they need to go for information.  Maybe they're going on the web," said Wendy Kirk.

The health department says if the Google information is accurate we would be experiencing a moderate flu outbreak and we aren't.  They say the high number of searches is probably related to recent mass vaccinations around the state.