It's only the second week of October but the flu has already arrived in San Antonio.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said Wednesday it had confirmed the first two cases of flu in Bexar County.
"It's not too early," said Dr. Anil Mangla, chief epidemiologist at Metro Health. "It starts about October and flu season ends in May, seeing two cases now is pretty normal."
Mangla said the cases were confirmed at two different hospitals and each patient had a different strain of the flu, both of which are in this year's flu vaccine.
Mangla said now is the time for everyone to get the flu shot. Mangla said studies show it is an effective way to prevent the flu from spreading.
"At least 7 out of 10 individuals that were vaccinated were protected against the flu," Mangla said. "CDC also has unpublished data suggesting that 60% percent of the people that were vaccinated were safe against the flu."
Metro Health suggests you follow these CDC guidelines to protect yourself against the flu:
First get the vaccine.
Next, practice good hygiene.
Cover coughs and sneezes.
Wash hands frequently and avoid sick people.
Finally, if you do get sick, go see a doctor.
"We do have antivirus that will actually help the flu so if a physician prescribes those make sure they are completed," Mangla said.
In an effort to reduce the spread of the disease this year Metro Health is trying to vaccinate at least 70 percent of school age kids. Mangla said students are the most likely to bring the flu home and spread it to others.
"So if we can vaccinate all the kids and then they go home they can actually protect the others from spreading the disease and that's a
very important point," Mangla said.
While it's difficult to predict what the flu season will look like, Mangla said getting a flu shot in October is the best way to protect you when the season peaks this Winter.