Area hospitals see surge in patients as flu hits Brazos Valley

Posted January 11, 2018

Last week it reported that as of December 30, there have been 13 reported cases of influenza-related intensive care unit admission.

FMC Chief Nursing Officer Helen Harding the high numbers are causing more people to visit the hospital's emergency department.

She's seen a recent spike in cases with 170 reports of influenza in the county through December 23, a 45-percent increase from a year ago.

The increase in cases caused the hospital on Tuesday to issue visitation restrictions until the cases drop. "It's not possible to say precisely when this flu season will peak or end or how severe it will be".

H3N2 has been responsible for some of the worst flu seasons in the United States of America in recent years, including the 2006-2007, 2012-2013, and 2014-2015 bouts.

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"We definitely saw a large increase in the last couple of weeks here in Denton County, much more so than the previous year and earlier than previous years too", Rodriguez said.

The deaths are the first reported by the state since flu season started in October.

But Harding said people should still get a flu shot because even it the vaccine is off some, it can still make the symptoms less severe compared to not having the shot at all.

"We try to be sensitive and practical", said Kitchen.

Schneider said the rise in positive flu cases could be attributed to better reporting on the physicians' part.

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"Even if it's not a good match and even if you do get sick, you have a milder version of the disease, so hopefully you don't have to be hospitalized ... and you may not expire", he said. Instead, medical workers can only treat the symptoms. However, some have chronic health problems and the flu can lead to complications ranging from moderate to life-threatening. According to the Denton County Public Health Department, officials have 2,000 vaccine doses in stock.

Doctors and nurses throughout North Texas are preparing for another round of flu patients in emergency rooms and clinics.

Vaccine manufacturers, the World Health Organization and others are studying the situation to determine if that was the case, she said.

The CDC says you can help limit the spread of the flu by washing your hands often and disinfecting spots that are touched frequently.

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