Flu shots recommended as flu becomes "widespread" in Arizona - Tucson News Now

Flu shots recommended as flu becomes 'widespread' in Arizona

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The flu is really starting to get a grip on Arizona.

Hundreds of cases have been reported in Pima County alone.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says, through last week, there were 520 confirmed cases in Pima County.

Two thirds of those cases were reported in just the last three weeks.

The big question for many: Is it too late to get a flu shot?

Talk to anyone in the Pima County or Arizona health departments and they say it's not too late.

Flu is considered widespread in Arizona.

That's the highest category.

The shots this year do include protection against the 2009 H1N1 flu strain.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says that's the most common flu virus in Arizona this flu season.

Health authorities say it's not too late to get the flu shot because we still have a long way to go in this flu season.

"It's early in the flu season still. We're not sure when the season will peak, but usually the season lasts up until March, maybe even into April. And so it can take up to two weeks for people to develop immunity after the flu shot and so we still have quite a bit of time during the flu season that people can be exposed," says Pima County Health Department Epidemiology Program Director Michael Acoba.

He says another reason to get the shot is that Tucson is about to host an international event.

"In the next few weeks with the Gem and Mineral Show coming in, we're going to have thousands of people from across the country and across the world coming in to Pima County. And there's really no telling what flu viruses they might be bringing with them," Acoba says.

There's also something new this flu season.

Acoba says there is now a shot that doesn't contain egg ingredients.

He says that means people who are allergic to eggs may now get a flu shot if they want one.

Acoba recommends calling ahead to the pharmacy to make sure it has the egg-free shot in stock.

To find a flu shot near you, click here.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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