The flu is taking the nation on a roller coaster ride. Most states are reporting widespread cases while a few others are seeing declining numbers. Still, this flu season started early and is hitting us in a more intense way than in previous years. That is driving a lot of people in the metro to flu clinics.
Only a few minutes after a flu shot clinic at 125th Street and West Center Road in Omaha opened Saturday morning, there was already a line wrapping around the room. "The flu is getting really bad this year so I just want to make sure my kids are protected,” said mom Lynell Mansfield.
She came to the clinic with her husband and two daughters, all to get a flu shot. "Was that too bad?” she asked one of her daughters. “No.”
It's something they don't always do, but this year they decided to be safe instead of sorry after hearing of so many others getting sick and even dying of complications from the flu. “People are getting very sick and some unfortunate souls are going to the afterlife, but I don't want to be one of those,” said Greg Daniel.
It's the scare of that achy, nauseous, overall awful feeling that pushed many to go to the clinic run by the Visiting Nurses Association, which opened Saturday because of the increased demand for the vaccine, though nurses say this is late in the season to get one.
"We really want to sell people on the importance of getting an annual flu shot and getting it early because flu seasons are so unpredictable,” said nurse Kris Stapp. “You never know what they are going to do until they start going badly."
As for this season, it's been so bad that dad Cecil Hicks decided to bring in his children to try and protect them from the flu. “Just worried about all the stuff that's been going around and I wanted to get on top of it." His daughter Nora got the flu mist, hoping she will stay flu-free.
Does getting a flu shot means you're 100-percent protected? No. A new study of more than 1,000 patients found this year's flu vaccine is 62-percent effective, which means you're 62-percent less likely to need to see a doctor if you do get sick. That number, 62-percent, is pretty normal for a flu vaccine.