Doctors Urge Flu Shots After Early Spike In Cases

Alan Scaia
December 13, 2019 - 6:17 am
Flu Shot

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Texas has confirmed more than 4,300 flu cases so far this season, and doctors are urging people to get flu shots before Christmas gatherings. Texas is second only to Louisiana in the number of flu cases reported this season.

"Definitely, definitely get the flu shot," says Dr. Carla Garcia-Carreno, a doctor a Children's Health. "It's never too late. I still recommend it even in February because we don't know how long the season is going to last. It needs about two weeks to become effective."

For the first week of December, Children's Health reported a total of 285 cases of flu: 244 at the hospital in Dallas and 41 in Plano.

Through November 30, the Texas Department of State Health Services had confirmed 4,356 cases of flu across the state.

Louisiana has had more than 5,000 cases. The CDC says states in the South and Southeast have reported more widespread cases than other regions.

Garcia-Carreno says 70 percent of kids who died from the flu last year had not been vaccinated.

"I understand there's a lot of concern from the families, but it's really important that we, as physicians, reinforce that we've had years of experience with vaccinations," she says. "These have been safe tools."

Garcia-Carreno says the flu season normally peaks in January and February. She says this season may be peaking early, or another spike in cases could come later in the winter.

"It's not fully understood why the flu can have an early representation and a longer type of season in certain years," she says, adding that there is no clear reason why states in one region might see more cases than another.

With the increase in cases ahead of Christmas, the system is encouraging families to use its Children's Health Virtual Visit app.

Children's Health says doctors can diagnose problems like the flu or strep throat through video conferencing and prescribe medication remotely for families who may be traveling.