With growing reports of people being struck by the flu in central Arkansas, it is still not too late to get your flu shot in preparation for the 2017-2018 season.

In a report showing from Oct. 1 to Oct. 21, the state department of health reported 250 influenza cases across 21 Arkansas counties so far this year, primarily in Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline, Jefferson and Craighead counties.

“The flu should not be taken lightly,” Dirk Haselow, MD, State Epidemiologist at Arkansas Department of Health said, “We are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their families, because it is hard to predict in advance how severe the flu season is going to be this year.”

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, echoing this sentiment, stated, “Anywhere from 140,000 to 710,000 Americans are projected to land in the hospital this year as a result of the flu and its complications, and 12,000 to 56,000 are expected to die from flu-related illnesses. Adults 65 and older will account for as many as 70 percent of the hospital stays and 85 percent of the deaths.”

Both the department of health and Medicare and Medicaid Services remind that one can not get the flu from getting a flu shot, and for the vast majority of people no ill effect from getting a flu shot is noted.

Donna Branscum, Administrator for the Van Buren County Health Department, said they are giving flu shots there now.