HOUSTON — This year, influenza not only made a comeback, it arrived early.
“We normally don’t see many cases of flu until December or January, and but we started to see some in September. Now we’re seeing outbreaks in schools and living facilities, and winter hasn’t even formally started,” said Luis Ostrosky, MD, infectious disease specialist with UT Physicians. “The flu has arrived much earlier than usual, and the cases are much higher than usual.”
Because people will soon be gathering for the upcoming holidays, Ostrosky urges all people to arm themselves now against the flu.
“The single most important thing people can do to protect themselves and others is to get their flu shot,” said Ostrosky, professor and division director of infectious diseases for McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “The shots don’t always prevent people from catching the flu, but they are very good at preventing complications that can lead to hospitalizations.”
The doctor also advises everyone to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to thwart this active virus.
“Avoid crowded places, and wear a mask in any indoor place with a lot of people,” Ostrosky said. “Continue to wash your hands often.”
Anyone who begins to feel flu symptoms, such as aches, fever, sore throat, and/or fatigue, should simply stay home.
“If you suspect you have the flu, do not go to work or other places where you can spread it,” he said. “Also, contact your doctor so you can get tested right away. There are treatments for the flu that can provide relief, but they need give be given in the first 48 hours.”
Select UT Physicians community clinics are offering flu vaccinations for $19. Call 888-4UT-DOCS to schedule an appointment, or contact your primary care provider or local pharmacy.
This is sponsored content from UT Physicians.