Flu season expected to be long; it's not too late to vaccinate

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by James Muñoz / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @americasjim

kens5.com

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 8:20 PM

SAN ANTONIO-- Flu season peaks in February, so Metro Health is reminding residents in Bexar County it's not too late to get the vaccine.

Local Health Officials said the number of confirmed flu cases this year has already surpassed the number last year.

The CDC has classified the intensity of the flu nationwide as "high."

The flu season came early with the first confirmed case reported in late September in Bexar County.

Doctors at emergency clinics like Texas MedClinic continue to be busy with sick patients. Some patients got the flu vaccine, but still came down with the flu.  

"Those who've had the vaccination have the symptoms, but they're much more mild," said Dr. Joseph Elizondo. "We are seeing patients who've come in who have not had the vaccination and therefore their symptoms are much more severe than patients who had the vaccinations."

Here's another possible explanation: Doctors said this year some of the viruses already spreading may be different from what is included in this year's vaccine.

Anil Mangla, Chief of Epidemiology for Metro Health said a number of factors influence whether a person comes down with the flu even after receiving the vaccine. He said the key is to get vaccinated.

"It could be your age, your immunity," said Mangla. "The vaccine has three different strains in it. So how they pick these strains is what they see the year before."

Every year about 24,000 people in the U.S. die from complications from the flu.

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