TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) — This time of year can be busy for doctors. In Tippecanoe County, the flu has been the culprit some of that sickness, but the flu shot is not very effective against this year's most common strain.
Despite that, people are still encouraged to get vaccinated.
"Religiously over the last three years I've gotten a flu shot," said Susan Poe.
Whether you get a flu shot, or you don't.
"I choose not to," said Al Coney. "I feel like that's just giving the enemy a jump over the fence."
During the month of December, Franciscan Health in Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Rensselaer had a total of 227 confirmed cases of the flu.
Franciscan Health Lafayette East saw just over 130 cases last month and flu restrictions have been placed in all of its hospitals.
"We may have a more severe flu season than we have had in the past, and this seems to be particularly related to this specific type of influenza A," said Purdue Assistant Professor of Nursing Libby Richards.
IU Health Arnett told News 18 it has also seen a sharp increase in patients seeking care in all of its facilities.
Richards said this year's flu shot is only about 10 percent effective against the type A strain cropping up in the area, but she also said the increased chance of getting the flu should not prevent someone from getting vaccinated.
"It doesn't hurt to get vaccinated if you haven't already been vaccinated," said Richards.
In fact, there are possible benefits.
"There are studies that show a decrease in the symptoms and how severe it is, so it does provide protection in that way," said
Tippecanoe County Health Department Nurse Supervisor Khala Hochstedler.
However, there are still some choosing to forgo the shot altogether.
"I'd rather fight it off instead of having the flu sneak in through the back door," added Coney.
The Tippecanoe County Health Department provides free vaccinations to those who are uninsured or underinsured. You can schedule an appointment by calling the health department at 765-423-9222 ext. 1.