This year, the flu has been no laughing matter. So far, there have been no child deaths yet in Travis County, there have been reports in other counties. In fact, on Wednesday, February 15th, five more deaths were reported in Dallas County in the one day alone, bringing the total in that county to 67. Also, these are not just affecting children and the elderly like many years, two of those five cases were a 42-year-old Farmers Branch resident and a 31-year-old Richardson resident.
The Centers for Disease Control are saying that hospitalizations are at the highest levels they have ever seen. Texas had 2,897 combined adult flu and pneumonia deaths and five flu-related pediatric deaths since Feb. 2 when the last report was released, and the numbers have grown substantially since.
For those of you who have considered passing on the flu vaccine this year, now may be a time to reconsider. While it can take up to two weeks for a vaccine to take full effect, there could be three months or more left in this years season, and with the damage caused so far, this is something that should be worth considering. While the deaths involving children this year have been lower, considering the severity, avoiding a vaccine may not be worth the risk, even at this point.
While a vaccine is one measure of prevention, remember, whether you get the vaccine or not, preventative steps should be taken to reduce your risk.
From the CDC website, they provide these reminders:
-Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
-While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
-If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)
-Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
-Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Remember, no matter what you do for the remainder of the year, please, stay clean and sanitary, be mindful of others around you who are ill. If you start to show some of the signs and symptoms of having the flu, especially for your child, give Capital Pediatric Group a call for an appointment.
Central Austin Office: 512-454-4545
North Austin Office: 512-250-0220