As flu season kicks off early, doctors encourage immunization
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Area hospitals and state health officials say flu season has come early this year.
The federal Centers for Disease Control reports five southern states, including Texas, with high levels of "influenza-like" illness. That ranking usually doesn't happen until late December or January.
Local doctors and emergency rooms say they've seen new patients every day in the last few weeks. Several patients visited Scott & White Hospital’s emergency room in Round Rock for flu-like illness just Tuesday morning.
"It's been a little bit earlier and a little bit more flu than we usually see this year," Chris Van Deusen with the Department of State Health Services said.
There is no cure for the virus once you’re infected, so prevention is key. As always, flu immunization is critical for the very young or elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying health issues.
"The immunization is fairly well correlated with the flu this year, so it really should help protect," Van Deusen said.
Flu shots are widely available at places like pharmacies and grocery stores. Check below for more information.