San Antonio doctors warn of increase in respiratory viruses as we enter an early flu season

University Health officials say the symptoms for the common cold, flu and COVID-19 have a lot of similarities

SAN ANTONIO – Flu season this year is unlike any we’ve seen before.

Last year’s season lasted deep into the summer and experts said the next one is already here.

On top of that, San Antonio doctors are warning about an increase in respiratory viruses: flu, common cold, and respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV.

All of these are prevalent in our community right now.

“The typical flu season really usually runs from about the beginning of October timeframe to somewhere around April in a given year is the usual standard,” Dr. Jason Bowling, an epidemiologist with University Health System, said. “But we’ve seen some changes with that over the last couple of years because of COVID.”

Now that numbers are lower, people aren’t taking as many precautions like wearing masks and avoiding crowds.

Plus, the number of people who have received the flu shot is low.

Dr. Bowling said now is the time for everyone to prepare for flu season, especially kids in school.

As for the common cold and RSV, there’s a list of symptoms to keep an eye out for.

“They may have fever, but it’s a little bit less likely. More usually runny nose, a little bit of cough, maybe,” Dr. Bowling said. “Don’t feel quite as energetic as usual with flu that tends to come on more suddenly. You’re feeling good one day. The next day you wake up and you’re feeling terrible.”

And that’s why people in the community are choosing to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated.

You can even take it one step further by bringing back some COVID-19-type protections.

“We know that people are tired of masking, but masking really is an effective way to reduce your risk of getting that upper, upper respiratory infections,” Dr. Bowling said.

According to Dr. Bowling, the symptoms of the common cold, flu and COVID-19 have a lot of similarities; it is best to be updated on all your vaccines.

University Health System has drive-thru flu shot events scheduled in the coming weeks.

For more information, click here.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.