BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Doctors report they are seeing cases of influenza early this year.
October first is typically the date doctors use to kick off their annual campaign to convince patients to get the influenza vaccine. But Dr. Kevin DiBenedetto with Lake After Hours said the symptoms are showing up.
"A lot of people are coming in with some fever, cough, cold, body aches," DiBenedetto said.
DiBenedetto said waiting rooms are filling up. He is urging certain groups of people to get their flu shots now. That includes those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, healthcare workers, and college students.
"Some of these LSU students who are in dorms, close proximity to people, probably ought to go ahead and get their flu shots because we are seeing a lot from the LSU campus right now," DiBenedetto said.
DiBenedetto said the flu virus has already hit Australia hard. He said because that is typically an indicator of what the season will be like in North America, the sooner you protect yourself the better off you'll be.
On the contrary, last season, the flu showed up late. DiBenedetto is worried that will persuade people to wait, which could result in an unnecessary spread of the virus.
"They go with the flow when the flu is hitting. So, it's better to just go ahead and get the flu shot and be done with it," DiBenedetto said.
The nasal spray version of the vaccine was taken off the market last year because doctors found it was not as effective as the shot.