Flu Season Just Around the Corner

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It is highly contagious, and even has its own season. Beginning in about November and lasting until April the flu can strike with a vengeance, leaving those in its path sick in bed or worse.

"It's time to start thinking about getting vaccinated once again for influenza," Dr. Charles Williams with the Brazos County Health Department said.

It is an annual ritual that doctors say patients shouldn't pass up. Two years ago, the flu season hit hard, last year was a little better. This year the Centers for Disease Control is predicting a slight to moderate season.

"The strain of the influenza changes from year to year," Jan Shay with Infection Control said. "So sometimes it just attacks and becomes more virulent, and can attack the patient and people, and make them a little more sick."

However, with this years light forecast health experts are reminding the public that it is still early in the season, and the strength of the virus could change.

"We try to educate and make people aware that it's getting to be flu season, and to start thinking about whether or not they feel the vaccine is appropriate for them," Williams said. "There are some specific criteria for individuals that are high risk that we recommend strongly getting the vaccine."

Cases of the flu are highest among children.

Symptoms for all ages can include: fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache, and muscle aches.

For some, a simple case of the flu can develop into pneumonia, and even have life threatening complications.

"About 225,000 a year will usually contract the flu, and of that about 36,000 will die," Shay said. "So there is some reality to the fact it's important to get the vaccine."

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become active. That is why health experts advise getting the shot now before flu season is in full force.