TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- As we creep into the colder months, your chances of getting the flu increase. In order to prevent the virus, people often get the flu shot. But, recent reports say this year's flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective.
The centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 7,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed in the United States, so far. This is more than double the number for this time last year.
Gina Games, a pharmacist at JR Pharmacy in Terre Haute, says this could potentially be a rough flu season.
"It's going to hit us," Games said.
She says it surrounding states such as Ohio and Illinois are seeing the flu hit right now.
"We normally see it peak around January and February," Games said.
And, the worst is heading towards Indiana.
"I'm really telling people now, with the holidays coming up and colder weather, that they really need to the flu shot now," Games said. "It takes two weeks for it to go into full affect."
The flu shot is an option that is highly advertised by health experts everywhere.
"It allows your body to build up an immune system without actually getting sick," Games said.
But, how effective is the flu vaccine?
The problem with flu is that the virus constantly changes."It is a virus, so it does change from year to year," Games said. "It's very difficult for us to know what exactly the virus is going to look like."
The 2017 flu vaccine was creatd about a year ago. This makes it hard for health experts to predcit how effective at stopping the illness.
The low effectives reports making headlines is based off of other countries, like Australia, that have already experience their flu season. The United States looks internationally to predict what our flu season will look like.
So, only one of the four different types of the vaccine could be ineffective. "Your flu shot is going to cover against three or four different types of the flu," Games said. "Were only talking about one strand that is in the flu shot."
But, the remaining two or three varations of the flu in the vaccine. "You're still talking about 50 to 60 percent effectiveness," Games said.
Even though the effectiveness of this year's vaccine is low, Games says it's still worthwhile to get a flu shot. "Anything at all is better than nothing."
The United States will not be able to tell how effective this year's vaccines are until the flu season is over. Games says getting the vaccine and washing your hands are the two most effective ways you can stay healthy this time of the year.