Texas leads nation in patients with reported flu-like symptoms
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, and fever are a few flu-like symptoms that often tag along with the cooler weather.
Health experts said influenza season typically runs from October to May with the peak regularly reported in January.
Three weeks into the 2013-2014 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Texas tops the nation in the number of patients reporting flu-like symptoms.
"It may look like Texas is higher, but that really depends on how the other states report and what their reporting process is," said Stephanie Taylor, Public Information Officer for the Northeast Texas PUblic Health District.
Taylor said if other states are like Texas, then physicians are not required to report flu cases, it is simply recommended.
While it may be difficult to obtain exact numbers, Taylor said regardless of whether or not Texas is in the lead, it is imperative to protect yourself.
"The CDC recommends getting your vaccine early in September and October, as soon as the vaccine is available because it does take a couple of weeks for your body to build up that immunity," Taylor said.
While rumors continue to circulate that the flu vaccine actually gives you the full-fledged virus, this health expert says that is just not true.
"Typically, if you have a response to the vaccine, it will go away in one to two days; it is not a long-term, you did not get the flu," Taylor said.
And since you can pass the flu on to others even before the onset of symptoms, Taylor said getting the flu shot is a step to protect more than just yourself.
To see the map of reported flu-like symptoms across the nation, click here.
To learn more about influenza, including symptoms, click here.