LUBBOCK, Texas — Local health officials said on Tuesday that Lubbock County is already seeing higher-than-normal respiratory virus cases counts for this time of year.

“We’re kind of in one of those difficult seasons where the weather has changed. They’re stripping cotton and allergens are at a high right now. So, this is typically the time of year when everything starts to go round,” said Lacey Lewis, a nurse practitioner with Covenant. “We are seeing a lot of influenza, COVID, and RSV in the younger population.”

The Health Department said Lubbock County has not seen a bad flu season in a few years, “and that tends to be cyclical. Every few years, you see a spike in flu cases. So, it could be that.”

For people who are traveling this week, the health department said the flu is circulating heavily in southern portions of the United States, including Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida.

Flu type A is the most common strain in Lubbock County going around right now, the health department shared.

Wells added that it takes roughly two weeks for vaccines to become effective, so for anyone wanting to get vaccinated against COVID or the flu this week, they will not be protected in time for Thanksgiving, but will be better protected for Christmas.

Lewis encouraged people to look past the politics and wear masks when feeling ill to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID, the flu and RSV.

“You wouldn’t want somebody coughing right next to you if you weren’t sick and you don’t want somebody coughing right next to your small child either if they’re not sick. Try and prevent the spread by washing your hands, keeping your mouth covered and wearing a mask if it’s necessary- staying home if you have any fever [or] vomiting.”

To learn more about the flu shot and COVID vaccine, visit the health department , your doctor or a local pharmacy.