A new year brings the start of the peak of the flu season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza season is throughout the fall and winter anywhere between November to March but can run as late as May.
The peak of the influenza season is around February but can start as early as December.
“We’re seeing a steady increase of influenza illness reported,” said Dr. Amanda Robinson-Chadwell, director of the Bell County Public Health District. “But nothing compared to last year.”
From October 2017 to May 2018, there were 2,104 cases of Influenza A reported in Bell County and 1,149 cases of Influenza B. Another 10,653 influenza-like illnesses were reported in that time frame along with 233 cases of H1N1.
As of Dec. 15, 2018, the Bell County Public Health District has had just 22 cases of Influenza A reported, 29 cases of Influenza B, along with 1,113 influenza-like illnesses and one case of H1N1 reported.
Symptoms of influenza include fever or chills, a cough, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and tiredness.
And while there has been a decrease in reported flu illness so far this season, it’s not too late to vaccinate.
“If you can get it, go get it,” Robinson-Chadwell said.
The CDC recommends annual licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.
Although the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, according to the Bell County Public Health District website, getting vaccinated will not only reduce the chances of infection but can also reduce the severity of the illness if it is contracted. It’s also noted that there is a 14-day period between the time the vaccine is administered and when it is fully effective, according to the CDC.
For more information, go to http://www.bellcountyhealth.org/preparedness/influenza.php.