HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Flu season came early in many parts of Central Texas this year, including Hays County.

“Usually we don’t see flu season peak till January or February, and we’ve already seen really high numbers right now,” said Hays County Epidemiologist Juli Barksdale.

Just three weeks ago, Barksdale noticed a dramatic increase in weekly cases. She said in mid-October, facilities in the county were reporting about 100 cases per week. That went up 600%.

“It jumped up to about 700, and we’ve stayed at that high for the last few weeks,” Barksdale said.

It’s those kinds of cases the Chief of Dell Children’s Medical Group Pediatrics Dr. Alefiyah Malbari said she’s seeing all the time.

“I would say more than 95% have something related to the respiratory system or the breathing system,” Malbari said.

With Thanksgiving this Thursday, Malbari is bracing for even more cases after the holiday break.

“Unfortunately, we do tend to see spikes in especially respiratory viral cases after gatherings,” the doctor said.

She warns parents not to take chances if their children are sick.

“So 24 hours fever free, and their symptoms should really be improving. So you should really be able to say, ‘Yeah, that cough seems like it’s a lot better than it was yesterday, that congestion seems better,'” Malbari said.