Jonesboro sees outbreak amid flu case surge

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:37 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Jonesboro is seeing an outbreak of flu for the first time in a couple of years.

Dr. Mark Wiggins, a primary care physician for St. Bernard’s, said they’ve seen more patients in the hospital, noting many of them being older or having chronic conditions.

He expressed that as cases are getting higher, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated.

“It won’t stop from getting but you’re less likely to get it, and if you get it, you’re less likely to get a severe case of it. If you have a severe case of it, you’re less likely to end up in the intensive care unit,” Wiggins said.

With the flu outbreak currently at the doors of hospitals, he explained the vaccine has been very effective this year.

“The common thing I’ve seen in my practice is that those who have had the vaccine are having milder cases and not dealing with it severely or for a long period of time as we’ve seen in the past,” Wiggins said.

An uptick in flu cases is expected after the holiday season as people start traveling and hosting family gatherings.

Wiggins emphasized the flu shouldn’t be an obstacle that keeps people from gathering during Thanksgiving but recommended caution before getting together.

“I think it’s important that we’re together for with the people that matter to us during the holidays so if you’re sick, I would encourage you to stay home but if you’re not, to do the things that we’ve always done. You should wash your hands; you shouldn’t cough on people. Even though it’s Thanksgiving maybe don’t eat off each other’s plates,” he said.