Flu Claims Five More Lives In Central Texas

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

On Thursday Night, a handful of doctors from Baylor Scott & White Healthcare, Hillcrest, and Providence Healthcare Network fielded hundreds of calls from viewers during the “10 On Your Side Flu Bank.”

The 3 most popular questions asked and their answers are listed below.

My child is less than six months old, how do I protect them from the flu?

A: Children less than six months of age cannot receive the flu shot. Your best course of action is immunizing all the family around that child so they won’t get sick.—Answer provided by Dr. Matt Bierwirth, Baylor Scott and White Healthcare  

How do you differentiate the flu from another illness?

A: Some common symptoms are high fever, a cough, and severe body aches. You can get a flu swab done at a clinic which takes 10 to 20 minutes. It’s not always perfect, but it can tell you if you have Flu A or Flu B.—Answer provided by Dr. Greg Newman, Providence Healthcare Network Express Clinic

If I got the flu shot, will I still get the flu?

A:  Yes. The flu shot doesn’t reach its full strength until about two weeks after receive it. So if you come into contact with the flu before that time, it might not have taken effect yet. Also, if you come in contact with a strain of flu not included in the vaccine you received, you can get the flu.—Answer provided by Dr. Michelle Manning, Providence Healthcare Network 

(January 16, 2014) The total number of flu deaths in Central Texas rose to eight Thursday with the confirmation of five more fatal cases of the virus.

The latest victims include two women in their 70s, one of whom died in late December and the other in early January at Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

They both had the H1N1 strain of the flu, Bell County Public Health District disease surveillance coordinator Lacy Sanders said Thursday.

A third woman from Coryell County who was in her 50s died at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen.

Two men in their 30s who were initially treated at Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights, both of whom lived in Bell County, also died, Seton physician Dr. Peter Whitney-Cashio said Thursday.

One of the men was transferred to Scott & White where he later died and the other was transferred to a facility in either Williamson or Travis County where he later died, Whitney-Cashio said.

Both deaths occurred in December, Whitney-Cashio said.

A Coryell County man in his 60s died of the flu in late December at the Temple VA Hospital and the virus claimed the life of a 2-week-old girl in early January at McLane Children's Hospital Scott & White in Temple.

The first flu death in McLennan County was confirmed earlier this week.

The victim was a woman in her 60s.

Local officials say they're battling four strains of influenza this year, including Flu A, Flu B, H1N1 and a fourth type that was not named.

Health officials say in particular that pregnant women, the elderly, and children should be vaccinated.

Sanders said the flu shot requires about two weeks for the body to build immunity against the illness and the flu mist requires about a week.

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