WICHITA, Kan. Flu season in Kansas started earlier than usual this year and with that, comes a growing concern about the vaccine's effectiveness.
We don't yet know the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine. What we do know from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is that last year's vaccine was 42 percent effective and there's a growing concern about this flu season.
Experts say it's hard to predict how the vaccine will do this year because the World Health Organization and CDC develop the vaccine based on flu strains in the southern hemisphere.
The virus evolves by the time it hits the U.S. Joe Cowell says he never considered getting a flu shot until last year.
"But I went into the hospital and went into a coma, thinking it was strep throat," he says. "They didn't know until a couple days later what it was. I was in a coma for three weeks."
Cowell faced a long road to recovery.
"God pulled me through," he says. "And for three weeks, I went through rehab and had to learn how to walk again. (I) lost 50 pounds of muscle."
Cowell's perspective on preventative annual shots, like the flu vaccine, has changed.
"Now I get a flu shot. I get a pneumonia shot," Cowell says. "It's something that... I'm back at full strength now, better than I was before, but it's definitely changed my perspective on whether or not to get a flu shot."
Experts strongly recommend getting the flu shot, covering your coughs and sneezes and -- as you're reminded every year -- making a good habit of one of the most important things you can do, washing your hands.