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When Is Flu Season In Texas

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Its Been Long Feared That The Us Could See An Even Worse Surge Of Covid

Has flu season peaked with minimal cases so far? Texas doctor weighs in

By Jesus Jimenez

5:31 PM on Aug 6, 2020 CDT

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday urged Texans to not let their guard down about COVID-19, and to get their guard up about the upcoming flu season.

Its been long feared that the U.S. could see an even worse surge of COVID-19 infections in the fall because of flu season, but whether that actually plays out could be up to Texans, state officials said at a roundtable event held Thursday at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Abbott said that although COVID-19 cases appear to be trending down lately in North Texas, cases are still high and are not anywhere close to being in the clear.

Getting COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations under control now is key before flu season arrives, Abbott said, urging Texans to continue to practice social distancing, wearing masks and limiting social interactions.

Until we have medications that are capable of treating COVID-19, the only tool we have to slow its spread is by everybody adopting these practices, Abbott said.

Family gatherings and friends socializing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are currently sources of concern for the transmission of COVID-19, the governor said.

Anybody, anywhere has the ability to spread and contract COVID-19, Abbott said, adding that its easy to get lax when it comes to wearing a mask around friends or family but that its necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

What If I Get The Flu

If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, such as a high fever , body aches and chills, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion and sore throat, see your doctor right away. Your physician can test for the flu and if you have it, prescribe antiviral medication that may help you recover more quickly. These medications can help lessen and shorten the symptoms, but they generally work best within 48 hours of the onset of the flu, so its important to see the doctor quickly if you suspect you have the flu.

After youve seen your doctor, the best thing you can do is take medication as prescribed, get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fluids, says Internal Medicine physician Dr. Dorris Morrissette. Resting your body as much as possible gives it the greatest chance to combat the flu virus and begin to recover. Also, if you have the flu, you are highly contagious. Thats why its important to stay home and avoid contact with other people until you are well, or at a minimum, at least until you have been fever-free for 24 hours.

You can greatly decrease the odds of spending a week or two in bed by getting your flu shot today. The sooner you get vaccinated the better, but as long as flu season is underway, its never too late!

This article contains information sourced from:

Who Needs A Flu Vaccine

We encourage everyone to contact their primary healthcare provider or local pharmacy or retailer to receive the seasonal flu vaccine. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages individuals to get vaccinated. This is especially true for pregnant women, children, young adults, caretakers of infants, and health care workers. Because seasonal flu viruses change every year, the vaccine is updated annually. So even if you or your children got a flu vaccine last year, you both still need to get a flu vaccine this season to remain protected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers recommendations found here.

The Texas Vaccines for Children program provides no-cost vaccines to eligible children 18 years old and younger. Clinics participating in the Texas Vaccines for Children program may be located here.

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Are Flu Vaccines Safe

Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .

Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.

Texas Is Suffering Worst Flu Season In Decades

Flu season still hasn

Texas is suffering through its worst flu outbreak in decades, according to a recent study of illnesses and deaths.

Flu season runs from about September through May. In most years, about 2-6% of people suffer illnesses that are serious enough that they visit a doctor. This year, according to researchers, the percentage has already risen above 13% and flu season isnt over yet.

According to a research team led by Roni Rosenfeld at Carnegie Mellon University:

This is really record-breaking. In the last 20 years hasnt reached that height. Its the highest its been this early in the season, and its the highest its been period.

Health officials in Dallas County reported a 6th death on January 2, 2018. It is possible that flu season peaked around the holidays and the number of illnesses will gradually decrease but it is also possible that the 2017-2018 flu season could get even worse.

The flu vaccine for the 2017-2018 season is not a perfect match with the flu viruses that are circulating around the world, which is one reason why Australia was hit with an unusually severe flu season.

Even so, Dallas County health officials recommend that all residents over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated.

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Doctors Have Worried That An Influx Of Patients Could Overwhelm Systems Nationwide That Are Being Strained By Covid

By Catherine Marfin

2:31 PM on Nov 24, 2020 CST

Seasonal flu cases in Texas are unusually low this season a trend in the U.S. that some health experts have attributed to the public health guidelines that were enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flu season usually peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts have been worried this year about the the possibility of a twindemic, the combination of increasing COVID-19 and flu cases that could overwhelm health systems nationwide.

But national and local data show the flu season is off to a slow start.

According to the CDCs most recent data, 122,615 flu tests have been collected in clinical labs since Sept. 27, and only 319, or 0.3%, have come back positive. During the same time last year, 158,740 specimens were collected, and 3.3%, or more than 5,000, came back positive.

The CDC calls this years activity unusually low.

Very few influenza viruses are being detected, a CDC representative told Healthline.

Health experts have said public health precautions recommended during the novel coronavirus outbreak, including masks and social distancing, may be helping to reduce influenza cases.

But health experts say its still too early to say whether the trends will continue.

More than twice the number of flu tests were conducted during the same period in 2019 23,422 tests were collected through Nov. 16 of last year, and 8.08%, or just under 2,000, were positive.

Strong Wave’ Of Covid

Beyond prevention through a vaccine, non-pharmaceutical interventions already in place to blunt the spread of COVID-19 should also serve to inhibit the spread of influenza. Interventions such as wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing.

“I just want to echo the theme of prevention. We want to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our communities. We want to prevent a really bad flu season from coming upon us,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas DSHS. “Let’s stay where we are in terms of the vigilance and the discipline for the measures to prevent COVID-19, and in doing so I hope we will have the very mildest flu season in history.”

Hellerstedt added that the number of statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 is dropping and that the trend must be sustained through the flu season if we hope to end the pandemic.

Abbott said other strategies involve increases in testing for both influenza and COVID-19 and that UTSW plays an important role in that. Currently, the hospital is performing about 3,000 tests per day and Abbott said they were working on strategies that would increase that capacity to as many as 15,000 tests per day. He hinted that other considerations were being discussed that could increase testing to 40,000 tests per day, but did not say how or when that might occur.

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Stop The Spread Of Germs

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, limit your contact with others. When possible, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause the flu

Flu Season Off To Rough Start In North Texas

Health Check: Texas vaccine exemption rates flu season is here & avoiding holiday headaches

DALLAS – New reports out this week show the flu rate in Dallas and Denton Counties rising rapidly.

About 24% of flu tests in those counties came back positive the week before Thanksgiving.

Medical experts say those numbers don’t usually appear until much later in the season.

They say it’s hard to predict what an early start to the season means in the long run, but in general it’s not a good sign.

“It’s been associated sometimes with some of our worst seasons in the past, so we don’t know how it’ll play out, but it’s one indicator,” said Dr. Phil Huang, the Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Collin and Tarrant Counties have not released their latest numbers but have also been seeing an increase in recent weeks.

Local health departments are urging people to vaccinate against the virus and take common sense preventive measures like washing your hands.


Also Check: Mayo Clinic Flu Shot Schedule

Flu Season Is Here: Be Prepared

There are few illnesses that make a person feel as miserable as the flu. If youve ever had the flu, you probably recall the symptoms vividly. Body aches. Fever. Chills. Exhaustion. All of these symptoms appear when you get the flu, and they dont go away quickly many people can be in bed for a week or more with this illness. But the flu is to be avoided not only for the terrible symptoms it causes. For some, the flu can lead to even more serious problems, such as pneumonia and in especially severe cases, death.

The good news is that you can dramatically reduce your chances of getting the flu with one simple step: getting an annual flu vaccine. Its fast, easy and cheap and it could well save you from experiencing a serious illness this fall or winter.

Flu season runs from October to May, though it tends to peak in December, January, and February. Texas Health Care/Privia North Texas physicians recommend their patients get a flu shot at the beginning of September. It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to be completely effective, so a September vaccination helps ensure protection by the time flu season typically begins in October.

‘i Never Imagined That The Flu Would Take One Of My Children’: Mom Warns Of Flu Danger As Covid Dominates Headlines

SINTON, Texas â Surging cases of the omicron-fueled COVID-19 virus top headlines early in 2022, but thereâs another illness that Roxxann Peña doesnât want people to look past this time of year: the one that took her daughter nearly 10 years ago and that will likely take tens of thousands more this year, too.

What You Need To Know

  • While COVID-19 has dominated the headlines lately, a Texas mom is warning anyone who will listen that the flu can kill
  • In 2013, Roxxann Peñaâs 2-year-old daughter Reese died suddenly. It was determined the girl had influenza and that it had attacked her heart
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2010-2021 between 12,000 and 52,000 people died yearly due to the flu
  • A Cedar Park-based doctor tells Spectrum News 1 Texas that recently heâs seen an uptick in patients with âflurona,â which is a condition in which someone is simultaneously positive for the flu and COVID-19

âSheâs 2 years old right there,â said Peña, showing a framed photo of a smiling, bubbly little girl her youngest daughter, Reese.

Peña said Reese was as lively a little girl as youâd find in late December of 2013 wearing tutus over every outfit sheâd put on and wanting to drive a race car like Vanellope von Schweetz in her favorite movie, “Wreck-It Ralph.” In fact, Peña was on her way to the store to try and find Reese a toy race car for Christmas when the unthinkable happened.

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Getting A Flu Vaccine During The Covid

Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health every year. Take recommended precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 while getting your flu vaccine.

Yes. Wearing a mask and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.

Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you havent gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

While limited data exist on giving COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, including flu vaccines, experience with giving other vaccines together has shown the way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.

If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a health care provider.

Officials Are Seeing An Earlier

Flu season nearing end, but 20 states report highest level of activity

TYLER, Texas – In the U.S. the peak of flu season is typically between December and February. In many parts of the country, according to the CDC, flu activity is rising now, at the end of March.

Russell Hopkins is the Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness for NET Health. He said about three weeks ago physicians, clinics, and ERs began reaching out to them.

We started to hear, hey, have you started to hear flu is going up? My number of cases and testing has increased, he said. And sure enough we saw that in the states data that East Texas was starting to see a rise. Weve not returned to pre-pandemic levels of flu, but theres probably a two to four percent rise above last years.

Hopkins said prior to the pandemic, East Texas usually saw a peak in flu cases near the second week of January. A second wave would normally come around mid-April.

This year is a little bit different in that we still have the same peak, but were seeing a rise a little bit early in the secondary wave.

He said this could be because we just went through omicron and people were staying vigilant. But that kind of diligence may have gone down.

I think that may have gone away, and then thats contributed to a recent rise, I wouldnt call it a surge, but certainly a rise in the number of cases, Hopkins said.

Reporting for the flu is much like COVID, Hopkins said, in that its a little bit delayed.

People can still go to their 815 North Broadway location for the flu shot.

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How To Differentiate Between A Cold Flu And Allergies

Mother Nature has been doing her best to give North Texans a case of whiplash this winter by alternating weeks of cool and warm temperatures over the past few months. More time spent indoors due to lower temperatures means more togetherness, which also often leads to the spread of bacteria and viruses.

When you first start noticing a sore throat, congestion and a runny nose, how do you know what youre dealing with? We reached out to Todd Richwine, D.O., family medicine specialist and physician on the medical staffs at Texas Health Southwest Fort Worth and Texas Health Family Care Clearfork, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice, for advice on how to recognize the telltale signs of a cold, the flu and allergies.

Typically, the flu has a sudden onset and youll experience high or at least moderate fever and frequent body or muscle aches. Chills, fatigue and headaches are common, he explains. Colds typically come on slowly, meaning there is a gradual progression of symptoms and people go from wondering if they are getting sick to progressing to where they know they are. I often hear patients say they felt normal and then were suddenly sick with the flu, while it is a very gradual progression with the common cold.

With colds, fever is rare , aches are mild and chills are uncommon. There typically is more congestion, sneezing and sore throat with a cold, and headaches are rare.

Richwine has a few tips for knowing when to head to the doctor.

The Breakdown On This Years Flu

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The 2017-2018 flu season started early and, so far, seems to be more severe than the last two seasons. We saw influenza-related activity dramatically increase during the last week of December, and this activity is currently considered to be widespread across most of the United States. Check your states most recent surveillance report here. Were hoping to see this season peak sometime in January or February, but flu season typically lingers well into the spring, sometimes as late as April or May. So, its important to be prepared and ready to protect yourself from the flu until then.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , its estimated that these viral infections have caused 10-35 million illnesses, 140,000-710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000-56,000 deaths on average nationally every year since 2010. Unfortunately, weve already seen increased numbers of hospitalizations and deaths this year to influenza.

Were dealing with four main types of influenza, two types of flu A and two types of flu B, and all four strains are included in this years flu vaccination. So far, one of the flu A types, the H3N2 virus, accounts for a large portion of this years reported flu cases. The H3N2 virus is particularly dangerous, linking to increased hospitalizations and deaths in young children and seniors.

Can I treat these symptoms at home? When should I receive medical attention?

How can I avoid infection?

3. Wash your hands, often!

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