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Flu spreading across Kansas

Updated: Monday, December 30 2013, 06:04 PM CST

WICHITA, Kansas - Rodney Nicks and his two children are taking time out of their holiday break to head to the Sedgwick County Health Department.

"I'm here today because my daughter needs the flu shot."

But after his family got over their flu-like symptoms, he knew he couldn't take the risk.

"My mother, she just insisted that we get our kids vaccinated including ourselves, and it's just a precautionary thing to do for your health."

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, body aches, and exhaustion. Symptoms worse than the normal winter cold.

Nicks is praying that his 6-year-old daughter will be fine after getting her seasonal flu shot.

"I don't want her to miss too much school, and I heard it's pretty rampant in the strain of flu is pretty severe."

Epidemiologist Christine Steward over at the health department says the national numbers also reflect the local trend.

"Before Christmas, the area microbiology laboratory in town reported an increase in positive specimen for the influenza viruses," said Steward.

Steward says most of the case are influenza A, but some could possibly be the H1N1.

The predominant flu strain mainly affects middle age adults and can be deadly.

So far, the CDC reports four deaths since September nationwide.

"Influenza is unpredictable even this season we don't know. We know it's starting to increase, but we can't predict the level of activity it will be in Sedgwick County, the state of Kansas versus the United States."

The ideal time to get the flu vaccine is October, but if you didn't get one then, you can still benefit from getting a shot now.

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full potential so getting the shot this week would help you when flu season reaches its peak later this month and into February.

Flu spreading across Kansas

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