SAN ANTONIO — The typical flu season runs from September to April, and with fewer people now wearing masks, this year's flu season is expected to be worse than last year.
The flu vaccine changes every year to adapt to an ever-changing virus. What you may not know is that this year, most will be getting the quadrivalent vaccine -- four flu shots in one to help increase the effectiveness of the vaccine.
"But what we really want to see, does it really protect against the worst outcomes from flu? Does it keep you from going to the hospital and does it protect against death?" Dr. Jason Bowling is an infectious disease specialist with University Health and a Professor of Infectious Disease with UT Health San Antonio. He says for those who don't like needles, there is a nasal wash, or spray, but not everyone can get it. He told us, "It's for people that really will not get an injection. Otherwise they don't want to get a needle. And there's an age range. It's usually age 2 to 49."
The most common symptoms of the flu are a fever, cough, stuffy nose, sore throat and muscle aches. And since COVID is still around, it is important to know which disease you have if you come down with symptoms. Dr. Bowling added, "There are targeted antivirals that work against the different viruses. And so, if you get COVID 19, you'd want the COVID 19 therapy versus having influenza where you'd want the influenza therapy."
The CDC estimates that between 2010 and 2020, flu has resulted up to 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 52,000 deaths. The more people that get the shot, the better our herd immunity. Dr. Bowling said, "There's more and more medicines now that can treat chronic medical conditions that impact the immune system. And so, by everybody getting vaccinated, we can protect those people that are going to have a worse course of influenza."
University Health, Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff and several County Precincts are hosting drive-thru flu drives.
For more Wear The Gown stories, click here.