Texas Flu Season 2018-2019
If like many American’s you thought this would be a mild flu season, think again! Even though this year’s flu season got off to a slow start, it is quickly picking up strength. The influenza season officially began on September 30, 2018, and historically peaks January through February. According to a report by the Texas Health and Human Services, the number of positive flu tests rose by 5.5% in just one week, and the number of flu cases rose to widespread and has remained this way ever since.
Left untreated, the flu takes lives. The last flu season took nearly 10,000 lives according to according to state health officials. This season, new flu-related deaths have also begun to surge. Sadly enough, children and senior citizens are at greater risk. This flu season 2018-2019 has also claimed it’s first pediatric victims. Recently, USA Today ran an article on a little Garland, Texas Girl. Ashanti Grinage, age 4, was taken to a hospital emergency room hospital with a fever and a persistent cough among other symptoms on January 29, 2018. She diagnosed with the flu and two days later, little Ashanti passed away due to pneumonia. She had not gotten a flu shot. This is the first pediatric case in North Texas. At Altus Emergency we would like to shed light on the flu symptom and complications subject to help prevent the loss of lives due to flu-related complications.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, last year’s flu was one of the worst on record in the US with:
- 80,000 deaths from influenza and its complications
- 900,000 American’s had to be hospitalized due to flu symptoms or complications from the flu virus
- The following are the most up to date statistical data by the Texas Health & Human Services on Texas flu season 1018-2019.
Fight the Spread of Texas Flu Season 2018-2019 Complications
There are many strains of the two types of flu viruses, A and B, that infect humans. However, flu viruses are continually changing, and there are always new strains of influenza developing around the world, for this reason, every year vaccines are manufactured to protect against the top three or four virus strains that researchers believe will be the most common.
The most common and devastating virus strain from last year’s flu season was related to the H3N2 virus which is known to cause more severe complications, and the vaccine doesn’t work as well against it.
Although we are still very early in the season, it is believed that a different flu virus known as H1N1 could be dominant this year.
What Else Is Lurking Out There?
In addition, this year the CDC has warned against a cold-like illness that affects anyone. The Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), acts as the cold virus but, it could also make it hard to breathe. This virus is a concern for babies and the elderly. Doctors believe the Syncytial virus season will peak during January and February.
RSV is the common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in America. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults.
Symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Signs of RSV infection usually include:
- A runny nose
- Decrease in appetite
You should know that these symptoms won’t all appear at the same time; instead they will develop in stages. If you spot these symptoms in an elderly person, please bring them to the nearest Altus Emergency Center so they can be evaluated and treated.
Symptoms in very young infants will be different and may only include:
- Decreased Activity, and
- Breathing Difficulties.
If your baby is showing any of these symptoms, it’s vital that you seek immediate medical assistance to prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing severe complications.
When Should You Come to The ER For Flu Symptoms?
Flu symptoms need to be treated early on, you should start on antiviral medications like Tamiflu within 24 to 48 hours after the first signs of symptoms. While flu symptom treatment is not a reason to visit the emergency room, certain complications from the flu, if not treated promply can be a serious health hazzard and possibly life threatening condition.
If you or someone you are caring for experiences any of these symptoms seek emergency medical attention right away:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pain or Severe Abdominal Pain
- Sudden Dizziness
- Severe Vomiting or Vomiting That Won’t Stop
Signs of a Flu-Related Medical Emergency in Children
If your child has been infected with the influenza virus (flu virus), and they experience any of the following symptoms, a visit to the nearest Altus Emergency Center is warranted:
- Rapid Breathing or Difficulty Breathing
- Bluish Color to the Skin, especially on the face or chest
- Not Drinking Enough Fluids, which could lead to dehydration
- Difficult or Unable to Wake Up or Interact with Others
- Severe Irritability: Child does not want to be held
- Stiff Neck
- A severe headache that doesn’t improve after taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen)
In addition to the symptoms above, if you have an infant with the flu and she experiences any of the following symptoms, bring them to our emergency room.
- Fever (over 100.3) and is under 3 months old
- Unable to Eat
- No Tears When Crying
- Fewer Wet Diapers Than Normal
As mentioned before, experts don’t believe this flu season will be as devastating as last year’s, but, nonetheless, the influenza virus is dangerous, and it should be treated accordingly. This flu season, all Altus Emergency Centers will be monitoring the progress and changes of virus strains and symptoms to ensure we are fully equipped to treat all symptoms and help nurse you back to health.