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Arizona health experts gearing up for early flu season

Posted at 7:50 PM, Oct 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-13 09:02:18-04

The sneezing, the coughing, the aching - we've all been there! In fact, some of you may even be there right now. 

"With colder temps, we've seen a lot of people coming with respiratory symptoms already, older people as well as younger people," explains Dr. Blake Sherman, emergency room physician at Cardon Children's Hospital in Mesa. 

The most likely culprit? The flu!

"It's really high on our radar...over the last two years, we have seen the flu a lot earlier than we would actually expect," Dr. Sherman said. 

We called around to several Valley urgent care centers. They told us they're seeing about average levels of flu activity. 

State numbers are painting a slightly different picture, though. In the past week, Arizona has seen 30 confirmed cases of the flu. The same week last year, the state only saw 23. But state health experts warn every year is different - just because there have been slightly more cases this early on in the season does not necessarily indicate it will be a feisty flu season. 

RELATED: When is the best time to get a flu shot?

Whatever this season brings, Dr. Sherman says he is prepared. 

"Two seasons ago, we had a really early flu season in Arizona. We were actually one o the worst states for flu." 

Last year, there were at least three children in Maricopa County who died from the flu, according to data gathered by the county. 

A new report from the CDC says the number of kids who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001, highlighting just how important and life-saving the shot really is. 

Experts say anyone six months or older should get the flu shot. It can take up to two weeks to take full effect, so getting it sooner will help safeguard you. 

RELATED: Bad heart? Don't forget your flu shot