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Dell Children's sees big spike in kids with flu-like symptoms

Flu season is ramping up and doctors are busy this week.

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas doctors have their hands full this week with sick kids. Dell Children's Medical Center has treated hundreds of patients for flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Eric Higginbotham, Dell Children's division chief and medical director, said as cases surge, now another wave could be coming.


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"We weren't seeing the flu this time last year," said Dr. Higginbotham. "The number of flu cases we've had has just exploded. Now, it's mainly influenza B, so there may be another wave coming that we haven't even seen yet of the other type of flu, which is influenza A." 

On Monday, Dell Children's treated 343 kids for flu-like symptoms. On Tuesday, doctors treated 324 kids and 210 on Wednesday.

"I'm hoping this is as busy as we're going to get right now. Those numbers that I told you are a substantial increase for what we normally see, and so right now the staff is working very hard and we're keeping all of our beds open," said Dr. Higgenbotham.


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Things to look out for are fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue. 

Doctors said you should take your kids to the hospital if they have extreme flu symptoms. The best way to stop it from spreading is to get the flu shot, wash your hands and stay home.

"If you're sick and you have the flu, it's very easy to infect four to five people at work," said Dr. Higgenbotham.

Austin Public Health said on Monday there has been one flu-associated outbreak at a Travis County school, but there have been no flu-associated deaths in the county. There has been one flu-associated pediatric death in Texas, a 5-year-old from the Rio Grande Valley.

The CDC said the number of cases in Travis County have increased about 8% in the past week.


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