Is the flu on the rise in Arizona?

A look at whether flu cases are higher than normal compared to last year.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - "Flu hits like a rock,” said Andrew Carroll, MD, the medical director of Atembis.

And it's hitting Arizona like a rock too.

There are 82 confirmed cases of flue in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services.

That's 70 more than this time last year.

So, you know mild cough or congestion likely isn't the flu.

Here's what to look for if it is the flu:

"One moment you're feeling well, and the next moment you have body aches, high fever, congestion and cough,” Carroll said.

Flu season happens every year.

Medical experts always tell you to get the vaccine.

"Last year, the success rate was about 47 percent, which is actually pretty good,” said Carroll.

So at best, you have about a 50/50 chance at protecting yourself if you come in contact with the virus.

"We think this year is going to be just as successful,” he said.

Some protection is better than no protection at all.

Here's the thing, though: Carroll says you should especially get the shot this year.

"We know that this year the flu is probably going to be worse than in years past,” he said.

That's because medical experts keep an eye on Australia since their winter just ended, and it was a doozy.

Potentially concerning:

The Arizona Department of Health and Human Services is seeing flu cases early this year, verifying that cases were on the rise as early as August.

Why is that a problem?

"We usually see the peak of flu in the January to March time frame,” Carroll said.

But there are ways to protect yourself -- including hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, staying away from infected people and encouraging sick co-workers to take the day off.

The myth we always talk about is whether the vaccine will give patients the flu.

Carroll said if your body reacts to the vaccine, that means its building the antibodies it needs to protect you from the flu.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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