Experts urge people to get flu shots, as cases begin to appear in Arizona

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- It's something doctors have been saying for months, but now may be a good time for people to get their flu shot.

Flu season has officially begun, and state officials say the numbers are already causing some concern.

Officials say they are keeping a close eye on the numbers. According to figures, at least 30 people were already diagnosed with the flu last week in Arizona. Most of the cases were from Maricopa County, and were relatively young, with the patients in the 19-year-old to 49-year-old age group.

During the same time in 2017, only 21 people were sick.

According to new numbers by the CDC, last year's flu season killed 80,000 people in the U.S., including 180 children, the highest death toll in almost 40 years.

"Particularly in the pediatric numbers from last year, majority of those kids were un-immunized," said Debbie McCune-Davis, Executive Director for the Arizona PArtnership for Immunization. She said this year, things aren't looking too promising.

"In the early reports of flu this year are very concerning, and it appears H3N2 circulating again," said McCune-Davis.

"The flu season is so unpredictable," said Eugene Livar with the Arizona Health Department. "It's something we have to keep an eye on."

It's an advice people may hear time and time again: get the flu shot.

"It's time for people to get their flu shot," said Livar. "Don't put it off."

CDC officials say last year's vaccine was only 40% effective, but experts maintain their stance.

"The good thing about the flu shot even if you do get the flu, it shouldn't be as severe case as you would get without the flu shot," said Livar.

That's especially true for pregnant women.

"The benefit of the vaccine protects the mom, but it also protects the baby, during its first few months of life," said Livar.

Experts also recommend that people should wash your hands frequently, and having good hygiene.

Another reason why peoples shouldn't procrastinate when it comes to getting the flu shot is according to experts, it actually takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body after vaccination. So, people aren't really protected for those two weeks right after getting the shot.

Flu in Arizona