Health Care

Flu season hits early, hard in Texas

Flu season hits early, hard in Texas

Hays County Local Health Department Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said flu season is technically September through April.

The 2017-18 flu season in OH and nationally is looking similar to what was seen during the 2014-15 flu season which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coordinator of Infection Prevention and Employee Health at Beatrice Community Hospital, Rose Wischmeier, says the hospital saw a spike in activity during the first couple of weeks, in December within its' clinics and emergency department.

Up until December 30, 2017, there were 11,275 laboratory-confirmed cases across the country, 74 per cent of which are attributed to influenza A. There have been a total of 1,050 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths across the country.

So far this season, at least 3,927 people nationwide have been sent to the hospital with confirmed cases of the illness.

The flu is landing more people in the ER than usual. However, the medical community has seen an uptick in positive flu cases in Hays County since a year ago.

The state does track flu-associated hospitalizations, which are rising. Two strains of the virus are affecting the population - the dominant and more severe influenza A strain (H3N2) which mostly impacts the elderly, and an influenza B/Yamagata strain which affects both adults and children. "In Louisiana we are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the current flu season". "But if you do get vaccinated and get influenza, hopefully, your symptoms will be less severe".

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Even though Schneider said the flu back then was very different from today's flu virus, it still kills 250,000 people every year worldwide.

"No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu".

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and muscle aches.

The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season. There are no flu vaccine shortages across Ohio.

ODH also recommends frequently washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs and staying home when you're sick.

She says you can contact your doctor within 24 hours to get treatment that can lessen the impact of flu. "They work best when started within two days of getting sick".