JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health said 15 people have died because of the flu. Seven of those were adults between the ages of 25 and 50.
The department said this age group in particular needs to get their seasonal flu shot. This year's flu season has been more severe for this group than in year's past.
Dr. Steven Stroud with NEA Hospital said he has seen 34 lab-confirmed cases so far this year.
"There's probably much more than that and that's just our hospital," Stroud said. "Right now, it is flu. It is flu season. If someone comes in with fever and a cough, more than not, it's gonna be the flu."
Dr. Stroud said January is the peak time for the flu, but it is still not too late to get a flu shot.
"Really anybody six months or older should get the flu shot because we're all at risk and it really does help," Stroud said.
However, many pharmacies in Jonesboro are completely out of shots.
"It's a good and a bad thing. I guess it means a lot of people have been getting their flu shot which is obviously what we think is the right thing to do," Stroud said. "I'd keep looking for the shot if you can't find it."
Stroud reminds all Region 8 residents that even if they get a flu shot Monday, they will not see the effects for awhile.
"It takes about two weeks to get the full effect of it and it's not 100 percent. You're not gonna get 100 percent protection from it, but it is better than nothing. And if you do happen to contract the flu right after you've gotten the flu shot, studies show that your symptoms would still be less severe so it's a good idea," Stroud said.
If you would develop flu-like symptoms, Dr. Stroud said to see a doctor within 48 hours.
"For the general public, once your symptoms have been going on for 48 hours, we generally don't offer treatment for that just because it doesn't show to be that effective," Stroud said. "But if you can catch it early, you can shorten the course and feel better quicker."
If you do not like going to the doctor, Dr. Stroud said to just wait it out.
"Chicken soup. Yeah, that's pretty much what you do," Stroud said.
Dr. Stroud said the flu spreads mainly by coughing. He also reminds everyone to wash their hands multiple times a day to avoid the sickness.
If you want to get a flu shot, Woodsprings Pharmacy in Jonesboro and pharmacies at Walmart, Kroger, Kmart and Target still have some available.