East Texas health officials prepare for flu season

East Texas health officials prepare for flu season
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It won't be very long before people start showing up to local clinics and doctor's offices in search of this season's flu vaccine.

Texas State Health officials say they've seen a small uptick in flu cases, meaning a slightly earlier start to the flu season that usual. And with a new flu season comes a new strain.

"The flu vaccine should be a lot better match this year for the flu that's going around. Last year that was not the case and the H3N2 strain was real bad, and we had a lot of kids get pretty sick with pneumonia, some hospitalized," said Dr. Jeff Glass of the Children's Clinic of Lufkin.

The hope is that the new vaccine will eliminate some of those complications.

Also new this year is that this is the second flu season where a "quadrivalent" vaccine, one that covers four different strains of flu, will be available. The previous type of vaccine, which covers three strains, is still available, so medical providers and patients can decide which they will receive," said Chris Van Deusen, Texas Department of State Health Services.

Glass said the Children's Clinic's order for the new strain is on the way. They started preparing early, a push to make sure they can handle the coming demand.

"If you're less than 9 years of age, you need to get two flu vaccines. One and then a booster a month later, so it's really important for us to get all of kids vaccinated early," Glass said.

If you're one of many who think getting the flu shot means you're bound to get the flu, Glass offers this advice.

"The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. It might make you feel a little achy after you get it because your body's like, 'Hey, what's going on here?' and you're making antibodies to help fight the flu if you're ever exposed, but it won't make you get the flu," Glass said.

Doctors say an alternative to the flu shot, is the nasal spray vaccine. Be sure to check with your doctor to see which method is best for you.

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