Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Fall is here, and it’s time again for flu shots. Officials are making clear that they’ve tried to avoid a repeat of last year, when immunizations proved ineffectual against a surprise strain. 170 million doses of flu vaccine are expected this year, reports The Kansas City Star. Options range from traditional shots, a nasal spray, a high-dose version for seniors, and even a needle-free injection for squeamish patients.

Already, flu and pneumonia have been a factor in more than 500 deaths in Kansas reports KPR’s Bryan Thompson.

 People older than 64 or younger than five are being hit the hardest. The CDC is advising people with chronic conditions, pregnant women, senior citizens, and small children to take antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, if they become infected. Dr. Mike Munger, at St. Luke’s South Primary Care, in Overland Park, says the drugs need to be taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms to minimize the severity of the flu.

H1N1 flu virus hits Texas early

Dec 25, 2013

Texas is among the states hardest hit so far by an early-striking flu season, and H1N1 is the strain most commonly reported among diagnoses this year.

Flu season this year is less severe elsewhere on the High Plains. Oklahoma is reporting a moderate flu season as of mid-December, while Colorado and Kansas are experiencing only localized or regional flu outbreaks, according to KUT Austin.