Flu-related deaths increasing statewide - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Flu-related deaths increasing statewide

(Source: Raycom) (Source: Raycom)
(KWES) -

It's no surprise when flu cases are on the rise during this time of year. But what is also increasing, are the number of the flu-related deaths.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports 1,155 flu-related deaths occurred statewide from October, when flu-season starts, to January 10th.
But as of this Monday, they said the number of deaths jumped up to 2,355.

Flu season lasts from October to March or sometimes April.

"We have a large number of individuals coming into our emergency rooms," said Valerie Sparks, Infection Prevention & Control Coordinator at Midland Memorial Hospital.

Midland Memorial Hospital said they have 165 confirmed positive flu's A's and B's last week while they've had 7 flu-related deaths since October. Those deaths were from people aged 68 and older, which the flu could have worsened  their already-existing health conditions like chronic respiratory problems, diabetes or COPD.

"Elderly people are supposed to take a pneumonia vaccine but a lot of those individuals haven't had that pneumonia vaccine in addition to the flu vaccine," said Sparks.

Medical Center Hospital hasn't had any flu-related deaths, but they said the number of confirmed flu cases are doubling from the past two weeks. If you notice any signs or symptoms, or if you're unsure whether you do have the flu, you can take a rapid-flu test to find out instantly. 

"We've had an epidemic of the flu and the test helps to find out immediately if you have it or not. That helps your provider make a decision what's the best thing to do to help the patient," said Dr. David Davison, a family practice specialist with Medical Center Hospital.

Doctors said the best way to prevent yourself from getting the flu is getting the vaccine, and practice the simple steps of washing your hands or sneezing or coughing into your elbow.

"We have a mild weather situation here, it's been cold and warm, back and forth," said Sparks. "It's tough to keep viruses at bay."

Because children are vulnerable to catching the flu since they're surrounded by other children in school, make sure your kids understand the importance of proper hygiene. If you notice any kinds of flu symptoms, it's best you keep them at home so they can recover.

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