Doctors say flu season is starting earlier than usual

Doctors already seeing flu cases

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fall is getting closer and with it comes flu season.

Doctors say they're seeing flu cases pop up a little earlier than usual.

It's not even October yet and already Dr. Andy Barnett at Legacy GoHealth Urgent Care said he's seen people walk through the door with the flu.

“We are seeing a slightly early flu season, than what we typically see,” said Barnett.

Normally flu season starts up in the first or second week of October. Barnett said the early start could mean the season ends earlier too, or that it's going to be a long flu season.

That's why he says folks should get the flu shot now, especially because it takes about two weeks to kick in.

“We have plenty of supply at all of our clinics,” Barnett said. He said the same is true at clinics across the region.

If you're not a fan of needles, you're out of luck. For the second year in a row the nasal spray vaccination won't be an option.

“This year, unfortunately, the flu mist, or nasal spray flu vaccine, is not going to be effective. So we're not giving it and the Centers for Disease Control are not recommending it this year,” said Barnett.

He said the good news is, the shot looks like it's going to be very effective this flu season.

In the meantime, Barnett had a few things he wanted to pass on to keep folks from getting sick.

“There's three things people can do right now during the cough and cold season. Number one, wash your hands. Number two, cough into your sleeve… and number three is to get your flu shot,” he said.

It costs $25 to walk into the Legacy GoHealth Urgent Care clinics to get a flu shot. Sometimes employers or insurance will cover the cost of a shot.

Barnett also had one last tip. It's simple, but hard to do sometimes: If you're sick, stay home.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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