DENISON, TX-The flu is making an early comeback this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the number of flu cases have jumped in five southern states--including Texas. Government health officials also said they are expecting a bad season.
According to the CDC, 226 people in Texas were tested positive for the flu, much higher than the number of cases this time last year and they said the flu usually peaks mid-winter. A local health professional tells us what to expect this flu-season.
"Oh I've had the flu and I don't like the flu, it's nasty. I don't like the flu, it wakes you up in bed and just makes you feel bad for 5-7 days. It's nasty."
John Tillman said when it comes to the flu, he doesn't take any chances. He said he's glad he's already gotten his shot because a lot of people showing flu-like symptoms.
"The hospital was filled with people with the flu and the emergency room was just filled with people with the flu that probably should've had their flu shots," he said.
Texoma Medical Center registered nurse, Donna Glenn said they are aggressive in tackling the flu early.
"You know flu season kinda starts, we start giving vaccinations in September and October and anytime between now and March is when we see flu. I think nationwide they're starting to see a little bit more especially some places in Texas too," she said.
But according to the CDC, flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly a decade. And suspected cases have jumped in five states--including Texas--but Glenn says she hasn't seen the increase yet.
"Texas is a really big state. In our area, North Texas, that's not what we've seen. Certainly not in our facility because we only have two cases, so I don't know if there's something going on down south, or the east or the west," she said."The fact that it's happening in other places more could mean that it's gonna happen here and it just hasn't yet."
Glenn said the public can help keep the flu from becoming an epidemic.
"The more people who gets flu vaccines, the lighter the incidence is, because you get something called "herd immunity" just like herd cows. So if there's 50 cows in the herd and 45 of them get immune, then the pathogen doesn't seed," she said.
And of course, there are simple things you can do to prevent getting and spreading the flu: wash your hands and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
CDC officials said about 112 million Americans have been vaccinated so far and the vaccine is well-matched to the current strain of the flu virus. If you need to get your flu shot, go to the nearest health department or see your doctor.