Preparing for the flu season and what to do to prevent catching the sickly virus.
With the New Year, doctors are starting to prepare for the Flu Season.
"So far this year the number of flu cases, influenza like illness that we track have been below the baseline numbers that we expect for this time of year," said Dr. Brian Smith, Texas Department State Health Services Regional Director.
Right now about six percent of what doctor's see in their offices is influenza type illnesses; this is normal. But if it goes above that, then the flu season has started.
But, the flu can be prevented.
"The thing that makes the biggest difference with respiratory illnesses is hand washing. So we need to be sure in our schools, in our daycare and in our homes that we have warm water and soap and we continue to wash hands," said Smith.
Also keeping hand sanitizer near can be a good back up too, but doctors said this year all strains of flu are well covered by taking the vaccine.
"So that's why the good news that we have good match with the vaccine this year. The bad news is that not many people have taken the vaccine yet," said Smith.
The vaccine will cover a person for up to a year.
"There's evidence that if you get your flu vaccine every year that protects you for years when there may not be a good match with the vaccine. So that's why you want to have it every year," said Smith.
The peak of the flu season will start at the end of January and go through March.
"In any year quite a number of people die from the flu and become very ill, become hospitalized, run up lots of hospital costs and miss lots of days of work related with the flu," said Smith.
The flu vaccine is affordable and can be found at your local pharmacy.