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Spike in Flu Cases Signal of Early Flu Season

Local newspaper, Community Impact, talks to ARC Family Medicine physician, Dr. Clarence Williams, for flu prevention tips

Flu season is here and it has arrived earlier to Central Texas than recent past years. The (sickness) trend is being seen nationwide and public officials are predicting the number of flu cases will continue to climb.

As reported in local media outlet Community Impact, Austin Regional Clinic saw a 50 percent spike in positive flu tests the first two weeks of December from 199 to 296 positive flu cases.

While it is normal to see a spike at one and possibly two periods of time during flu season, this season’s spike comes slightly earlier than usual, explained Dr. Clarence Williams, Family Medicine physician at ARC Anderson Mill to Community Impact.

Dr. Williams expects the number of flu cases to continue to rise. How can you protect yourself?

“It is not too late to get a flu shot,” Dr. Williams said. “Getting the flu vaccine is still one of the best things you can do.” Flu season typically peaks in Central Texas in January.

The flu vaccine may not be 100 percent effective, in fact, some reports are indicating an effectiveness of 10-15-percent this year. But, that’s still a layer of protection and may help avoid serious health emergencies.

Getting the flu shot isn’t just about protecting your health, explained Dr. Williams. A flu vaccine can also protect others particularly those most at-risk such as your grandmother, children and people with chronic health problems.

Other ways to protect yourself and others from getting the flu:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your nose when you cough or sneeze with your elbow (or something other than your hands)
  • Avoid people who appear sick
  • Stay home if sick

If you are feeling flu-like symptoms visit a doctor. For those who test positive for the flu, doctors can prescribe anti-viral medicines, which are most effective when the regimen is started within 24 to 48 hours of falling ill, Dr. Williams explained.

Not yet had a flu shot? Contact ARC and make an appointment for one today.

Tags: Flu shot, flu vaccine, flu, Dr. Clarence Williams

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