Flu in Arkansas

The 2022-2023 flu season arrived historically early with levels of infection that have not been seen for several years. This page provides information on flu activity in Arkansas, including infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the illness.

Last Updated: January 29, 2023

The following graphic, taken from the Arkansas Department of Health’s most recent flu report, illustrates how Arkansas had an early and aggressive start to the 2022-2023 flu season, which typically peaks in January or February. The red line represents flu-related insurance claims paid so far this flu season by Medicaid and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The green line represents claims paid in the 2021-2022 flu season, and the blue line represents an average of claims paid over the period of 2017-2022.

There have been 1,542 cumulative hospitalizations for flu-like illness in Arkansas this season, with 30 hospitalizations during the week ending Jan. 21, according to ADH. This flu season, 129 Arkansans have died, and according to ADH, 75% of them were not vaccinated.

Source: Arkansas Department of Health, “Outbreak Response/Epidemiology Influenza Weekly Report Arkansas 2022-2023: Week Ending Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023”

What To Know About the Flu

Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include some or all of the following, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Fever, feeling feverish, or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, although these symptoms are more common among children

Treatment for Flu

According to the CDC, antiviral drugs (such as Tamiflu) may be a treatment option if you get sick with the flu and should be started a day or two after symptoms begin for best results. When started early, these antivirals can lessen the severity of illness and reduce the time you are sick. If you are at an increased risk of serious complications from the flu, consult your doctor immediately. People at higher risk include children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

Flu Prevention and Vaccination

Each year, updated flu vaccines provide important protection against illness. The ACHI Health Policy Board issued a call in November 2022 for Arkansans to get their flu shot. Also, the CDC director has noted that updated flu shots generated this year seem to be “a very good match” for the most common strains of influenza.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people at higher risk of developing serious complications.

News Release

News Release About Flu Will Be Below (Placeholder text for now)

LITTLE ROCK ― The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement announced a news release about the flu here.

Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include some or all of the following, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Fever, feeling feverish, or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, although these symptoms are more common among children

Each year, updated flu vaccines provide important protection against illness. The ACHI Health Policy Board issued a call in November 2022 for Arkansans to get their flu shot. Also, the CDC director has noted that updated flu shots generated this year seem to be “a very good match” for the most common strains of influenza.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people at higher risk of developing serious complications.

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