According to the CDC’s latest weekly report, Texas is the only state in the U.S., outside of DC, that already has a moderately high rate of flu cases. This doesn’t look good for flu season, which was uncharacteristically low last year because of masks and people isolating. Houston Methodist experts are encouraging Houstonians and Texans to get the flu shot early. Dr. S. Wesley Long, a pathologist and Medical Director of Diagnostic Microbiology at Houston Methodist, says he doesn’t usually see cases this high until December, which is when the season usually peaks.


Here are some important flu facts to consider:

  • While flu season is usually between October and May, peaking in December and January, it’s getting an early start this year and uncharacteristically presenting with high peak rates currently in Texas.
  • You need a new flu vaccine every year to be protected, and while some individuals have a strong immune response to the vaccine that can cause flu-like symptoms, the flu vaccine does not cause the flu and the symptoms aren’t as severe or long-lasting.
  • It takes up to two weeks for the influenza vaccine to work.
  • The flu can cause life-threatening complications.
  • The flu is contagious before symptoms start, and flu symptoms can start abruptly.
  • You can still get the flu after a vaccination, but it reduces the risk by 40-60% and, if you do get it, the symptoms will likely be less severe with lower incidence of hospitalization if you’re vaccinated.


If you’d like to speak with Dr. Long for more information, email Lisa Merkl at or text a message to 281-620-2502.