The number of reported flu cases tripled during the most recent week for which data are available, Waco-McLennan County Public Health District officials said Thursday. "Widespread" is the highest level of flu action, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.
Flu shots are the best way to prevent getting the illness, according to DOH. Vaccination is especially important for pregnant women, the elderly and others at high risk of influenza complications.
The flu can be spread from person to person when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly flu vaccinations for everyone over the age of six months, although there are rare exceptions. "I certainly wouldn't put others at risk", that individual said.
These factors-combined with the administration's heavy cuts to the CDC and related programs that focus on everything from health and research to our overuse of antibiotics and drug-resistant infections-may be putting us just one mutation away from a flu pandemic.
The vaccine is safe and effective. He says despite the large numbers now, it doesn't necessarily mean the season totals will be more than usual.
It sounds very simple, she said, but everyone should dispose of all used tissues immediately after using them.
The medical professionals say the symptoms can pack a powerful punch but usually clear up within two weeks.
Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Last week, a Yukon elementary school was forced to close its doors after 115 students and 10 teachers called in sick.
The increase has prompted DPHHS to encourage people to take precautions to protect themselves as they travel over the Christmas holiday.