Flu season begins earlier than expected

We start to see influenza in Spokane towards the end of October. However, local doctors say you could catch the flu right now as well.

Cases sometimes show up as early as September.

There are actually two strains of the flu, known as flu a and flu b. Both types have similar symptoms, but flu b tends to be less severe.

There were 241 cases of influenza related deaths last season and doctors want you to know that most could have been prevented.

“If you think you have the flu, it is appropriate to come into your urgent care or primary care office to be checked. If you can’t breathe, it’s time to get pretty aggressive about getting care,” said Rob Lichfield, Doctor at Providence Health Care.

There’s no foolproof way of preventing the flu, but doctors say you should get your flu shot as soon as possible.

It’s about 66 percent effective. Dr. Rob Lichfield says it helps the community as a whole and prevents the illness from spreading.