Autumn Nemesis: Influenza

Amidst all the Halloween candy — pumpkins — and cornucopias — it's easy to forget about a more insidious fall visitor. Flu season is knocking on your door. Laurie Johnson has more.
Flu season...vaccinations...blah...blah...blah, you've heard it all before.

Or have you?

Did you know symptoms of influenza were described by Hippocrates more than 2,000 years ago?  The first documented influenza pandemic was in the year 1580.

And the 20th Century alone saw three major outbreaks of the virus that killed millions of people.

Despite our familiarity with the flu, Dr. Julie Jones with the Harris County Hospital District says it's not something to be messed with.

"There is actually enough flu vaccine this season for everybody to get a flu shot. So we really want to encourage everyone to think about getting one, even if they haven't done so in the past."

That's not to say everyone needs to make a mad dash to the neighborhood health clinic. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are typically the most susceptible to the illness.

But anyone who wants to can show up for a vaccine.

HCHD has a vaccination clinic running the next four Tuesdays. There's a link to a list of locations on the Harris County Hospital District website.

And in case you want to bring home one more random flu fact, the word influenza comes from the Italian for influence.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...