Flu season starts early

Flu season starts early

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Today the Centers for Disease Control said this flu season is starting early and could be a bad year.  Already two children on the mainland have died from the flu.

So far Hawaii is seeing sporadic activity of the flu and it is projected to be a moderately severe year for flu in Hawaii.

More than 112 million Americans have already received the flu vaccine and unlike years past there isn't expected to be a shortage.  Anyone who wants the vaccine can get the vaccine.

Doctors are reporting some sporadic flu activity in the state even though Hawaii usually gets hit hard later, about a month after the mainland.

"We normally don't see a lot of activity really going until about maybe late January, February but if you go to your doctor's office now I can guarantee they are starting to see some sick folks but it may not be flu it could be some of the other respiratory diseases," said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist.

The state is still going to schools and vaccinating students.  About 70,000 Hawaii kids will get the shot or spray and should finish school vaccinations by next week.

Thousands of vaccines will be given at workplace clinics as well.

"When you take it as a matter of a safety precaution, is it better for me to take a vaccine to prevent something worse from happening sure," said Jedeiah Esteves, who did get vaccinated.

But there is a myth about the flu vaccine that if you get it you'll get sick.

"I have friends that say when I got my flu shot and then they got the flu within that week," said Ben Flippin, who did not get the vaccine.

"I hear that so often and there is no truth to that.  The vaccine is a killed vaccine it's not something I'm giving to you that's live so you're not supposed to get the flu," said Dr. Dee-Ann Carpenter, Internal Medicine, Lau Ola Clinic and John A. Burns School of Medicine Assistant Professor.

"That's just not scientifically possible. The shot is inactivated, it's not even the whole virus so how can it make you sick? More likely you got exposed around the same time," said Dr. Park, regarding the claim the vaccine makes you sick.

That said it's one less excuse for those afraid of the shot.

It's certainly not too late.  Many places clinics and pharmacies are taking walk-in's to get the shot.  Doctors say you should also get the vaccine about two weeks before you travel.

For more information about the flu in Hawaii click here.

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