It seems like everywhere you go right now, someone is coughing and has a runny nose, and it might only get worse before it gets better.
Hays County has seen a huge spike in cases, 304 right now, compared to the 15 they saw this time last year.
In Travis County, they're up 20 percent in the past two weeks, and have already seen three people die.
In Williamson County, they tell KVUE their cases have increased from low to moderate.
Doctor Candida Suffridge with Baylor Scott and White said they've seen a lot of people come in with the flu in the past week.
"We have seen so many illnesses in the last week or two, unfortunately a lot of people have gotten sick over the holidays. We've seen a lot of influenza A and B, typically called, but we've also seen other viral infections, such as upper respiratory infection, sinus infection,” said Suffridge. "I think this is the typical time where we see a lot more flu cases. It seems anecdotally that we've seen a lot of flu cases in the last couple weeks, especially in our clinic, but we also have other viruses that are circulating.”
According to Suffridge, the flu season typically lasts until April.
So she encourages everyone to still get a flu shot, even if you've heard that this year's strain isn't effective.
"I hear that a lot from patients, they're suspect, is it going to work this year, is it not, and every year there's the potential for strains to develop, and for the flu shot to not be quite as effective as it was in previous years," said Suffridge. "It is still the number one best way to prevent the flu and it still gives immunity, and helps you fight off infection, should you get exposed.”
One clinic said they ran out of flu tests because they've seen so many cases. But, Doctor Suffridge said, those tests are only about 50 percent accurate for adults.
"I think most of the infections we see, we know almost immediately what infection they have, based on the symptoms and the exam, normally we don't have to do too much testing in the clinic,” said Suffridge.
So she says if you have a high fever, and can't keep liquids down, it's time to go to the doctor.
As you know, the flu can be very dangerous, even life threatening for those who are under the age of five, or older than 65, as well as for pregnant women or anyone who has a chronic illness.
"Fortunately, influenza or the flu is usually fought off by immune systems, usually without any medications," said Suffridge. "Unfortunately, the more vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, certainly people over the age of 65, or young children under the age of 5, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses for their immune system is slightly compromised to begin with are much more vulnerable. And the flu can be life threatening, fortunately it's not usually life threatening, but we really need to be on the lookout especially for those more severe symptoms as a very high, difficult to control fever.”
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