Experts concerned as flu-related deaths continue to rise in Arkansas

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The flu is sweeping the country and the Centers for Disease Control says the worst of the virus is yet to come.

Jenny Adams doesn't mince words when it comes to her recent bout with the flu.

"It was absolutely horrible," she said. "It was the worst flu I've ever had in my life."

Number recently released in Arkansas are alarming.

The Arkansas Department of Health is now reporting 122 flu-related death in the state, the worst in 17 years.

Dr. Mark Castellaw, medical director with Baptist Medical Group, says one reason those numbers might be so high is due to access to health care.

"You know, some people might not have access to a primary care doctor where they can go see and get treated. Often times in rural areas people are sicker, especially with chronic illnesses that may or may not be attended to," Dr. Castellaw said.

Working in the Mid-South, Dr. Castellaw says this year is particularly bad.

"I can walk in the room and can tell immediately if they have the flu, because they look so ill," he said.

Adams says her body felt terrible when she had the flu.

"I just felt like everything that had energy had been drained out of my body," she said.

Dr. Castellaw says the elderly, young and those with a chronic medical condition are most susceptible.

He also told WREG some patients may seem worse than others because they wait too long to get help.

"Part of the reason is they just waited a long time before they came in to get seen, and they just sat there and got sicker and sicker and sicker."

Adams says she got the flu just days before she planned to get the flu shot.

Dr. Castellaw says, its still not too late to get one.

"Over in Australia, the statistics were very low, but here it's been about 30 to 33 percent chance you might get the flu. You might fall in that 30 percent. You can get protected from the flue. Studies show people that get flu shots are less likely to have a virulent course than people that don't," Dr. Castellaw said.


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