HOUSTON – Last season, the flu killed 172 children and it was considered the worst season on record by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination.
This year, pediatricians with Memorial Hermann Medical Group are hoping to see more kids coming in before the end of October to get vaccinated.
“Since we're already starting to see cases of the flu, it's not at its peak yet but hopefully we have some time to get the flu shot before the peak arrives and so we really urge people to get the flu shot at least before the end of October because that's usually when the peak of flu season is,” Dr. Rachel Kelt said.
They're worried since last season went so long, parents may forget it's already time for another shot. The only way doctors can promise lower chances of getting sick is to get protected every year, but Kelt said it's hard to convince people of that.
“It's not fun to get a shot every single year but the flu virus is actually a very scary virus," Kelt said. "We don't know when the peak will be, we don't know how bad it will be."
There is another option this year. The nasal spray vaccine makes a return.
The company promises its formula is now better prepared to defend against the disease after it was pulled from the market for being less effective.
Even though Kelt is skeptical it’s better than the shot, she's ready to administer Flu Mist to patients.
“If they wouldn't have gotten the shot in the first place, then sure the Flu Mist, I’m happy with that. I'm happy with anything. Anything is better than nothing!” she said.
The Houston Health Department said so far there have not been any hospitalizations from flu.
Flu season typically falls somewhere between September and May. The peak is normally somewhere from November to February, but every year can bring new surprises.