Texas Medical Association and Staff Reports
Flu season is picking up steam across Texas. Widespread influenza has reached epidemic levels in the state, killing six children so far this flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Texas physicians urge people six months and older to get the flu vaccine if they haven’t already, and to take precautions to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
Palo Pinto General Hospital's Emergency Room has experienced a higher than normal number of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms, according to Sue Lamb, the hospital's clinic administrator.
Lamb said the hospital saw an average of 130 patients per week coming through the ER with flu-like symptoms until the week before last, when they saw 115 patients.
“This year is much worse than last year,” said Jason Terk, MD, a Keller pediatrician and chair of the Texas Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health.
“This year the flu arrived early and sickened more people than past years,” he added. “The predominant flu type this year is called H3N2, and people seem not to have as good immunity from this type as from other flu strains.”
“Years when this strain predominates are usually bad flu seasons,” said Dr. Terk, a TMA Be Wise – Immunize advocate.
However, it’s not too late to get vaccinated and protect yourself and your loved ones from this potentially deadly disease, he said.
“The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting sick from any one of the flu viruses that circulate every year. It also helps the people who live and work around you because getting vaccinated boosts community immunity.” (When more people are vaccinated, fewer people get sick and spread the bug to those who are not vaccinated.)