Public, school officials gear up for flu season

SAN BENITO — Flu season seems longer this year and it is breaking records.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this flu season is looking to be one of the most active yet with more than 60 child deaths attributed to the disease this season.

Cameron County Health Educator Luisana Lopez stopped by the San Benito Chamber of Commerce to talk about flu season and its effects in the Lower Valley.

Lopez said the strain H3N2 of the flu has fatalities on the rise among children and the elderly.

Both populations are the most susceptible to contracting the flu as well as pregnant women and women two weeks postpartum.

Lopez said the county has had five flu outbreaks occur, all of them at nursing homes.

Last week, San Benito CISD Health Services Coordinator Janette Rodriguez sent a letter out to parents to keep them aware of flu symptoms and ways to avoid getting sick.

Rodriguez recommended students diagnosed with the flu stay at home for a minimum of five days and the parents contact the school to notify administration.

The district is also taking extra precautions in keeping classrooms bacteria free and providing hand sanitizer in every room.

Lopez said one of the biggest misconceptions during flu season is that the flu shot makes people sick and gives them the flu.

Lopez said the flu virus can live inside a person for a week without displaying any symptoms.

People getting sick from the flu shot most likely had a strain of the virus already in them, Lopez said.

Lopez said there are only estimations on flu mortalities since it isn’t mandatory to report flu-related deaths.

While numbers for children are known, it is more difficult to attribute flu as the reason for adult fatalities due to other health issues adults may be dealing with.

Lopez said limiting human interaction and taking extra precautions when sick could help prevent spreading the disease.

Is it a cold or the flu?

Traits of the flu

• Symptoms are abrupt

• High fevers

• Body aches

• Chills are fairly


• Fatigue and weakness

• Headaches

Traits of the cold

• Symptoms appear


• Fever is rare

• Slight body aches

• Slight fatigue

• Sneezing

• Stuffy nose

• Sore throat

• Headaches are rare