AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday, Austin Public Health tweeted that another person in Travis County died because of flu-related illnesses, which makes two deaths this season.
The flu has impacted schools in Texas as well. Four schools closed this past week because of the flu and, between Jan. 12 and Jan. 18, four children died after getting the flu.
On Monday, some students in Manor had to wait a little longer for the bus after the communications director, Angel Vidal, said a couple of the bus drivers called out sick. It is not clear if they have the flu but, just weeks ago, custodians at Manor Elementary Early Learning Center had to do a deep cleaning because of a flu outbreak.
Physician Eric Higginbotham at Dell Children Medical Center of Central Texas said since Friday the ER has seen over 50 children with flu-like symptoms. He said from October until December, they had an unexpected spike in influenza B, a strain of the flu.
"That's early for the flu season and the volume of kids we were seeing," explained Higginbotham."Our max day we saw 345 kids in a 24-hour period, which for us is very, very busy."
Within the last week, Dell Children's ER has seen a spike in influenza strain A, which is now the most common strain in Travis County, according to Austin Public Health.
"I got here at 6 a.m. and it is about 11 a.m. now and I have probably seen about six or seven kids with influenza a so far," said Higginbotham.
He said strain A and B are very similar and have the same symptoms: fatigue, muscle aches, coughing and running nose. He said right now a quarter of their patients have the flu, and those are just the ones they test.
"I am just worried we are going to see another big uptick in the flu A cases coming in the next couple of weeks," explained Higginbotham.
The flu season will last through May, according to Austin Public Health.
"You're sort of getting the vaccine to prevent the complications of influenza," said Higginbotham.
Another good way to prevent the flu is good personal hygiene, like washing your hands. He says if you have the flu stay home.
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