by Emily Waldrep
After a Warren man passed away due to flu related complications this season, the Center for Disease control is warning that the flu is nothing to play with and that flu shots are more important this season than ever.
"We get all of our information about the flu from the Center of Disease Control," said Sondra Wilson, RN, MSN, CEN, Chief Nursing Officer. "There are also weekly flu reports available for the area."
You can view the reports at www.dshs.state.tx.us.
According to Horace McCorvey, epidemiologist for health service regions 4 and 5, severe cases of the flu are continuing to spread.
"The influenza activity for Health Service Region 4/5 for the week of December 21 continues to be widespread with laboratory confirmed flu being reported in all counties for which a flu report was received," said a report by McCorvey. "Ninety-Two percent of healthcare facilities that submitted reports indicated that flu activity increased compared to last week. Hospitals in 17 counties reported flu related admissions with clusters of severe cases being seen in Gregg, Angelina, Harrison, and Nacogdoches counties. There were multiple flu-related deaths reported, all in adult patients."
In addition, the state wide flu report states that one 7-year old died after testing positive for H1N1 and did not receive a flu vaccine in the 2013-2014 flu season. According to state health officials, the flu in Texas is above baseline and extremely widespread. In week 52 alone, 1,063 were diagnosed with the flu.
"We are seeing severe cases occurring in younger populations," McCorvey said.
The CDC recommends getting a flu shot if you haven't already, as the season can sometimes last into May.
Flu Shots are available at local hospitals as well as some local pharmacies, including Brookshire Brothers, Walgreens and CVS.