Flu Season Peaks Soon

The biggest push to get flu vaccines usually comes in the fall — but the biggest surge of flu outbreaks comes over the next few weeks. As Laurie Johnson reports — flu season is just now reaching its peak.

This is the most common time of year for seasonal influenza outbreaks. Dr. Paul Glezan, a professor of virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, says there are a couple of reasons that January and February are the busiest flu months.

"We know there are certain factors that are important. One is for school to be in session, so that's why things often cool off during the holidays. And then when the kids get back to school it usually takes a couple of weeks for the viruses to be stirred up. Flu viruses like cold weather because they like low humidity. And they tend to persist longer when the air is dry, so winter suits them fine."

So Glezan says because of that, anyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated should do it now before the virus gets busy.

"The seasonal and H1N1 shots can be taken at the same time, just in different sites. But the live attenuated vaccine, which is a nasal spray, it's best if they're four weeks between seasonal and novel H1N1 vaccine, but it can be taken as soon as two weeks after if necessary."

Glezan says nearly everyone is eligible for both the H1N1 and the seasonal vaccines and should talk to a doctor about getting vaccinated.

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...