SAN ANTONIO - The flu is striking early and often this year, with an increasing number of cases across the southern half of the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
It is the earliest start to the flu season since 2003-2004.
"Over the last couple of weeks, we've really seen a dramatic rise in the number of flu cases," said Dr. Evan Ratner, with Impact Urgent Care in San Antonio.
Ratner said a short memory was partly to blame. The last few flu seasons have been relatively quiet, leaving many to put off getting a flu shot.
"Combine that with a pretty virulent strain this year and I think this could be a pretty bad year for the flu,” said Ratner.
The predominate strain going around, according to the CDC, is the H3N2. The strain last made its mark in 2003-2004, a bad year for the flu.
Symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, nausea and vomiting, a sore throat and a cough.
The best way to avoid the virus is with a flu shot, and experts agree it is not too late.
“This is going to extend for the next couple of months and even if you don’t have a flu shot on board now, there’s still time,” said Ratner.
This season’s shot is reported to be quicker and less painful and the vaccine is a good match. That means the shot is effective against the virus.
Lastly, Dr. Ratner had this reminder: “The flu shot does not cause the flu. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot.”
The flu season usually peaks in January and February.
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