SAN ANTONIO – Influenza shots are starting to arrive at local hospitals and pharmacies, and doctors are urging parents of young children to give them their flu shot before the start of the season.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 180 children died from the flu, and 80 percent of them had not been vaccinated.
University Hospital epidemiologist Jason Bowling said flu activity is low statewide, but the flu season could start anytime.
“The CDC is recommending that everyone get their flu shot before the end of October. It takes a couple of weeks to get a good response to the vaccine,” Bowling said.
This year, the nasal wash maybe an option again in lieu of the injectable vaccine.
“American Academy of Pediatrics is saying you should get the shot preferably over nasal wash, but nasal wash is acceptable this year by the CDC,” Bowling said.
Doctors expect to see patients with upper respiratory viruses starting in late September. Flu season picks up around the holidays and into the new year.
“People say the vaccine is not 100 percent, and that's true,” Bowling said. “But even if people get sick, people that get vaccinated tend to be less sick they are less likely to go to the hospital and less likely to die from the flu.”
The Texas Health and Human Services website shows some low flu activity in the state. About 2 percent of doctors’ visits to facilities that track the virus reported flu-like illnesses. You can track your county on the state map by clicking here.