As influenza hits the Treasure Valley, doctors brace for significant flu season

Posted at 5:11 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 19:17:38-04

It's not yet October, but medical experts are bracing for a pretty big flu season.

"It's never too early," said Dr. Michael Pelton with St. Luke's Medical Center. "As soon as the flu shot is available, you should just go ahead and get it."

The serious illness can lead to hospitalization and in worst cases, can even be deadly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in five people in the U.S. will become infected with the flu virus this season.

With a handful of influenza cases already reported in the Treasure Valley, doctors are encouraging getting the flu shot as soon as possible. 

"There have been some isolated cases of the flu being diagnosed, which is a little earlier than usual," Pelton said. " it may turn out to be a little worse than previous years."

The good news -- you can get your flu shot today.

And if you think getting the flu shot will give you the flu, doctors say not so fast.

"I think it's certainly a common misunderstanding," Pelton said. "The flu vaccine does not actually contain any flu virus. So, it's really impossible to get the flu from the flu vaccine."

Doctors say the flu season typically runs from November to March.

The CDC recommends that all Americans over the age of 6 months get vaccinated against the flu every year.