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Although flu cases are up compared to last year, Houston is still seeing a relatively mild season

Doctors say pandemic safety precautions have contributed to another pretty mild flu season for Houstonians.

HOUSTON — Pandemic precautions led to record low levels of the flu last year, but this year is a different story.

“We are seeing more influenza activity this winter than last winter, that’s for sure. But less than what we saw two years ago,” said Dr. Jim Versalovic, pathologist in chief at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Texas Children’s has confirmed 160 cases of the flu among its patients, which includes seven co-infections of the influenza and COVID.

According to the CDC, flu activity was high in Texas through January. Positive cases have dipped this first week of February.

Doctors say there’s more good news overall.

“There aren’t a lot of hospitalizations for flu. Even though we’re seeing positives, we aren’t seeing a lot of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Michael Chang with UTHealth Houston/Memorial Hermann.

That’s despite millions fewer people getting the flu vaccine this year.

Dr. Chang says the relatively mild flu season is thanks to people doing things like masking and social distancing.

“If you’re taking all the preventative measures against COVID, then you will also be protected against the flu,” said Dr. Chang.

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself from the flu and COVID is to get vaccinated.

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