EL PASO, Texas -- Flu cases in El Paso have skyrocketed with nearly 2,000 more this season compared to this time last year and nearly double the number of Socorro Independent School District students have been missing class.
El Paso saw 2,946 flu cases last flu season, October 2018-January 2019, and has had 5,059 reported cases so far this year. Looking at that same season absences at Socorro ISD have nearly doubled with an average of 2,429 students missing class each day this January compared to school starting in August.
ABC-7 spoke to a pediatrician to see how you can keep your family safe.
“If your child is not vaccinated I would recommend first of all get vaccinated for the flu,” said Dr. Ricardo Reyna.
Vaccinating may not stop you from getting a different flu strain, and that is why taking other precautions is just as important.
“Proper hand-washing and definitely no sharing of utensils with other students or family members that are sick are kind of the two biggest things. You can also wipe down any hard surface counters or furniture to help protect yourself,” Dr. Reyna said.
“The flu is very contagious, usually the recommendations if your kid is diagnosed with the flu is to stay home for at least five days to prevent the spread of the flu, passing it on to any other child,” he added.
Being careful when around large groups of people, like kids in school, is even more important this flu season since that poses the greatest risk.
“Cold itself doesn’t get you sick. When it gets cold outside people tend to stay indoors quite often and everyone stays indoors, so the closed environment is when this type of respiratory illnesses start proliferating,” Dr. Reyna said.
Low-cost flu vaccines are available through Immunize El Paso clinics and the fire department.