Flu cases on rise

January 4, 2014

Flu cases reportedly have been on the rise across the state this season, and local activity also seems to be increasing recently, according to a local pharmacist.

“Our numbers have steadily increased the past 10 days or two weeks,” Todd Strain, pharmacist and owner of Granbury Drug Store on South Morgan Street, said Thursday afternoon. “We are seeing flu.”

Strain said that the number of customers he’s heard from who seem to have flu-like symptoms seems about normal, though.

“It’s in line with previous years,” Strain said, before adding, “People don’t seem to be as sick,” as in some years past.

The latest statistics available from Lake Granbury Medical Center show that 63 people with flu-like symptoms came to the emergency room for treatment last week. Of those, 11 tested positive for influenza Type A, according to LGMC R.N. Denise Pratt, infection control preventionist. One of those was admitted to the hospital, but none of the cases were severe.

Strain said his pharmacy is temporarily out of the flu vaccine, but more is on the way from a company in California.

“I expect more in – I think Monday or Tuesday,” he said. “We did give the normal amount of flu shots.”

A news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) states, “The level of flu-like illness is currently classified as ‘high’ in Texas, and medical providers are seeing an increase in flu in multiple parts of the state.

“Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called trivalent vaccines) are available. In addition, this season flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called qualrivalent vaccines) also are available.”

DSHS recommends that everyone 6 months of age and up get vaccinated. A nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2-49 who are not pregnant. A high-dose vaccine is approved for those 65 and older.

All forms of the vaccine will protect against multiple strains of the flu, including H1N1, the DSHS said.

The DSHS noted that flu kills an average of 23,600 Americans a year. People over 65, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for complications.

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