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What you need to know about flu season in Houston

HOUSTON – Hospitals in Harris County are telling us they are seeing more cases of flu recently compared to last year.

Texas Children’s said they had over 80 confirmed cases of flu last week.

That’s more than they had for the whole month of November.

With the flu making its annual rounds in Houston, we take a look at some things you should know about this year's season.

1. It started earlier than normal.

2. Some people are saying the flu shot is only 10 percent effective.

That was a number that came out of the Australia flu season and experts say the Australia flu season can be precursor of what our season will look like.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us, however, that they still believe our flu vaccine is on track to be 39 percent effective, like last year.

3. Is the flu vaccine effective against the prevalent strains of flu?

The CDC says that each year, the flu vaccine is grown in eggs. One of the main strains this year, H3N2, becomes altered a bit during that process. So, the CDC said it's possible you could still get the flu even if you received the vaccine, but the flu would not be as severe.

4. So, should I still get my shot?

Yes, experts KPRC spoke to said with the flu shot, your body will mount a stronger defense. You won’t get as sick, and who wants to be really sick with the flu?

“Even if it's not the exact match, it still resembles the flu virus and it will help launch a defense against it,” said Isabel Valdez, a physician assistant at Baylor College of Medicine.

5. What can I do to prevent the flu?

Believe it or not, wash your hands. And not just a quick wash, sing "Happy Birthday" and wash your hands the whole time.

6. What can I do if I feel like I’m coming down with the flu?

Call your doctor, who can prescribe antivirals. It won’t make the flu go away completely, but it could make it go away faster.

7. What are the symptoms of the flu?

The Harris County Health Department provided us with some information.

Flu symptoms include the following signs and symptoms:

  • * Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.