This flu season, hospital labs reported only 620 positive cases between January 17, 2021, and the end of the month, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
During this time last year, there were more than 30,000 flu cases, although more labs reported results.
Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District says the dip in cases has a lot to do with the precautions we’ve taken for COVID-19.
“Wearing a mask, social distancing, staying home when you're sick, all of these things protect you from a number of respiratory diseases, and the flu is one of those,” she said.
Health professionals say flu numbers change every year, but there's typically a rise in February, which is why it’s important to keep following social distancing guidelines. Health authorities say you can even catch COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.
“They are two separate viruses. You could be unlucky to fall victim to both. One who is experiencing flu-like symptoms may be thinking they have COVID, so it’s best to consult your primary care doctor,” said Karen Percell with Advent Health Central Texas
“Traditional doctors offices will test for everything just to make sure to rule everything out. Everything has flu-like symptoms,” said Craine.
Local health experts say symptoms for the flu show up much faster than symptoms for COVID-19. They say whenever you get flu-like symptoms, be sure to take a flu and COVID-19 test.
Health professionals also say it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. If you plan on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu, make sure you take the doses for each 14 days apart.