San Antonio/ Health & Lifestyle
AI Assisted Icon
Published on February 23, 2024
Amid Surging Cases, Health Officials in Central Texas Urge Precautions Due to Intense Flu SeasonSource: Unsplash/ engin akyurt

As Central Texas grapples with a particularly brutal flu season, health officials are urging residents to take increased precautions. The CDC has flagged Texas as a state with some of the highest flu activity in the nation, with local doctors describing it to KENS 5 as one of the toughest seasons the area has faced. While the timing is off-kilter, with cases intensifying when they typically should be waning, the message from medical professionals remains clear: wash hands, get vaccinated, and wear masks in crowded spaces.

In a time when seasonal sickness is often overshadowed by the pandemic, it's easy to overlook the flu's severity. However, doctors warn against such complacency. "The flu may seem like something that we're so inundated with... But the reality is people are dying," Dr. Pollyanna Pitt of Teladoc Health cautioned in an interview with KENS 5. Key health advice also includes covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and aiming for the elbow crease rather than the hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Amid the surge, Austin Public Health is also monitoring an upswing in "flu-like symptoms" reminiscent of what was seen during the height of the coronavirus omicron variant surge. According to an article by KVUE, symptoms like runny nose, fever, and body aches are on the rise, with health officials pushing for both flu shots and COVID-19 boosters, even if individuals have already fallen ill.

"If they do have those symptoms, they are general symptoms," Dr. Desmar Walkes of Austin Public Health explained to KVUE. "You cannot tell if you have the flu, cold, or allergies, so go and get tested and be treated appropriately. Stay home if you are sick so we can reduce the number of people that become ill." The advice is critical, especially with the CDC highlighting February as a peak month for flu, which can extend as late as May.

For those who haven't yet received their flu shots, there's still time. Officials stress the importance of acting quickly, however, as the vaccine takes about two weeks to fully kick in. In the fight against a mutating and ever-persistent flu, these measures are steered at keeping the community safer during a season that has shown itself to be particularly relentless.