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Health experts urge Texans to get vaccinated ahead of flu season


Texas medical experts are warning about a resurgence of influenza this winter after a relatively dormant year during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Flu is overdue right now,” said Dr. Donald Murphey, an Austin pediatric infectious disease specialist and chair of the Texas Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health.

“We should be concerned about flu returning. Flu is here every year consistently and last year, with mitigation for COVID, we didn't have a flu season at all," he said.

Murphey explained this year’s flu season could even be worse than usual as an overall decline in coronavirus cases is expected to lead to an increase in public gatherings during the holidays with fewer people wearing masks.

"Viruses don't stay away for very long. They are looking for susceptible hosts to spread in and we should have a normal flu season," Murphey said. "We may even have a worse than normal flu season."

The flu poses the most serious risk to Texas’ youngest and oldest residents, as well as people with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or cancer. According to TMA, most flu-related hospitalizations and up to 85% of flu-related deaths occur in people over 65 years old.

The Texas Medical Association is encouraging flu shots for everyone 6 months of age and older, as vaccinations are still the best way to prevent hospitalizations and save lives. TMA says people can safely get vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Copyright 2021 The Texas Newsroom.

Joseph Leahy | The Texas Newsroom
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