Doctors recommend flu shot as season gets off to nasty start

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Doctors are recommending the flu shot those who haven't received it yet as the flu season got off to a rough start in Southern California. (KABC)

Public health officials strongly advised getting a flu shot if you haven't received one since the season just got underway.

Dr. Katie Marks Cogan pointed out that only 3 percent of flu tests were positive this time last year.

This season it's up to 19 percent.

"People aren't worried about the flu as much and not necessarily taking the precautions," Cogan explained.

Last season in Los Angeles County, the flu peaked in mid-February and resulted in 70 deaths, which included three children.

"Children under 2 years of age. People over 65 years of age. People with chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and chronic lung conditions like asthma," Cogan described.

While the flu isn't usually an emergency, Cogan said you can prevent complications by calling your doctor as soon as you feel the sudden onset of symptoms.

You may be able to get a prescription for the antiviral medication Tamiflu.

"Within 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms (Tamiflu) can be really helpful in preventing severe complications," said Cogan.

Many people confuse the stomach bug with the flu. Symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea and vomiting are caused by different viruses and bacteria and are completely different from the respiratory illness known as the flu.

Doctors also said there was still time to get the flu shot.

"It's really not too late to get the flu shot. You do want to remember that it takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies," said Cogan.
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