More young people coming down with the flu

Doctors report more patients between 18 and 49 years of age

By Frank Espinoza - News Producer

HOUSTON - The number of flu cases is growing and health experts are urging everyone to take precautions.

Doctors are now warning younger people to get a flu shot, especially as the new year approaches.

With New Years celebrations around the corner, many people will be in tight spaces, making it easier for the flu to spread.

Currently, doctors report seeing an increase in patients between 18 and 49 years of age with flu-like symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control says H1N1 is the dominant strain circulating.

The strain is sickening younger and middle-aged people, and doctors say the reason could be because a lot of young adults are not getting vaccinated.

The H1N1 strain seems to be hitting Texas especially hard with several confirmed cases in Montgomery County and the first pediatric death in Houston, so pharmacists are scrambling to keep up with the demand for flu vaccines.

"Even though you have an H1N1 strain that's going around, you don't always have 100 percent coverage with that. This year the flu vaccine only covers about 60 percent effectively and reliably," said Dr. Happy Alagarsamy with St. Michael's Emergency Room.

A spokesperson with the Houston Health Department told Local 2 the vaccine is readily available, though spot shortages may be found, some caused by shipping delays due to weather.

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