7 flu-related deaths reported at Midland Memorial Hospital

7 flu-related deaths reported at Midland Memorial Hospital

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Midland Memorial Hospital is reporting seven deaths related to flu-like symptoms and from complications of the flu.

Hospital officials say all of the people who died were over the age of 68.

While the flu can be dangerous for everyone, children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic conditions are most at risk.

"The flu can affect individuals of older age. It can lead to pneumonia. It affects those with chronic respiratory conditions, diabetics, asthmatics and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Elderly people are supposed to take a pneumonia vaccine as well. A lot of individuals have not had that vaccine in addition to a flu vaccine," said Valerie Sparks, Infection Prevention & Control Coordinator at Midland Memorial Hospital.

Sparks says the hospital is seeing a large number of people coming into the emergency room with signs and symptoms of the flu. She reports 15 to 16 people are hospitalized for the flu and that the hospital had more than 165 confirmed cases of the flu last week.

Sparks says they are also seeing people come in with signs and symptoms of the flu, but they have not tested positive for the flu.

Many doctors are prescribing Tamiflu to their patients.

According to the Federal Drug Administration, Tamiflu works by reducing flu symptoms and by keeping the virus from replicating which helps your body's immune system fight the flu virus.

Some people are concerned there is a shortage of Tamiflu, but Sparks says she has not heard of any shortage.

"There is not a Tamiflu shortage to my knowledge. I know some individuals, if they get the prescription, they take it to get filled, but the pharmacy is out. But they are usually are able to get it the next day," said Sparks.

Sparks adds the hospital is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the flu at the hospital.

They are asking that children under the age of 14 and adults with flu-like symptoms not to visit the hospital.

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