Getting ready for flu season on the South Plains

Getting ready for flu season on the South Plains
Preparations for flu season (Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Flu season generally runs from October through April, and sometimes goes into May.

According to the CDC, last year was a late flu season, with most activity happening between December and February, and not seeing a peak in activity until March.

Flu season is coming up and there have been rumors that a case has already been confirmed here on the South Plains, so NewsChannel 11 talked with experts to see what is going on.

"Typically quote unquote the flu especially this time of year is its maybe a cold a severe cold, but its probably not influenza. So, is it impossible? No. Have they been somewhere and acquired it there? Possibly, that's the most likely scenario because we're not seeing any other flu activity around the city. Now, there is something going around town because I know the ER was checking some flu screens yesterday here but I haven't heard any positives popping it up," said Dr. Lawrence Martinelli, Infectious Diseases-Covenant Health.

We also checked with the health department. They've had nothing reported so far and the CDC doesn't have their flu map up for this season yet, meaning no active transmissions.

So no flu here on the South Plains and no way to officially know when it will begin.

"You never know when flu season is going to start. We've had it start in mid September, we've had it start not really until late November early December. Until it actually starts up and you start seeing transmissions and the reports coming in of confirmed cases we don't know," Dr. Martinelli said.

It is recommended that people get their flu shots by October.

"Influenza vaccine for most people is usually effective for about six months. Since we don't have any reported activity and flu season often extends into April, if you get vaccinated at the beginning of October now you're covered for the whole flu season all the way through April,"  Dr. Martinelli.

There's also a lot of misinformation being spread about the flu shot.

Myths like like the flu shot making people sick, which is not true because it's a dead vaccine, so fever or feeling achy afterward is a reaction to the shot not the vaccine.

Another is being allergic to eggs.

"The CDC recommends if you have a history of an egg allergy and it's now worse than hives you can go ahead and take the flu vaccine. If your face swells up, you have trouble breathing, you have an anaphylactic type reaction then no, but those people are extraordinarily rare. Question I like to ask folks when they say I'm allergic to eggs i can't take the flu vaccine I like to say, do you eat cake?" Dr. Martinelli said.

The best way to prevent getting the flu and keep everyone around you healthy is to make sure and get the flu shot. If everyone is protected there is less chance of an outbreak.

People do not need to rush out and get their flu shot right now, but doctors recommend you definitely have it done by October.

There are many locations you can go to get a flu shot, including pharmacies, doctors' offices, and the city Health Department.

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