Flu numbers still increasing across Texas

The Center for Disease Control says we have not hit the peak of the flu season yet, and we still don't know when that peak will come. Only healthy adults and healthy family members age 13 and older can visit patients.

The CDC is reporting so far this year 37 children have died compared to only eight last year. As of mid-January, widespread influenza activity was reported in 49 states.

According to the CDC, most adenovirus infections are mild, with symptoms lasting about 10 days.

Four strains of flu are active in Arkansas right now, influenza H3-N2 is the most dominant.

According to the Surveillance Report, the DSHS Region 1 - which includes Lubbock, Amarillo and the Panhandle/South Plains area - continues to have the second highest pneumonia and influenza mortality rate per 100,000 people in the state, though it has the lowest number of deaths with 84. It killed an estimated one million people worldwide-34,000 in the USA alone between September 1968 and March 1969.

The rapid response flu test involves swabbing the back of the nose or throat to check for influenza DNA.

Take common-sense precautions to avoid exposure to the flu virus, such as washing your hands frequently and staying away from people who are sick.

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"It's the multitude of symptoms combined that leaves a person feeling really weak and exhausted. Seek help from your health care provider immediately and avoid being out in public".

While it is possible for the flu itself to cause death due to serious breathing problems and severe dehydration, according to Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children's Hospital, it is more likely that a complication from the infection will be the cause of a flu-related fatality.

Experts think the baby boomers might not have gotten exposed to a key virus strain when they were kids, and it's making it harder for them to fight off this year's flu.

The CDC says the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and can also protect infants from the virus for several months after they're born.

Most children today probably have their first exposure to flu not through a full-blown illness, but through the flu vaccines they can get once they reach six months old. "But this vaccine is not licensed to be used in civilians", Kajon continued. Studies showed the nasal spray offers limited protection.

Doctors say it's not too late to get vaccinated because the season can last into May. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

The best defense against the flu is to get the flu vaccine.

  • Ismael Montgomery