KILLEEN (January 11, 2013) ---Metroplex Hospital in Killeen was preparing Friday for the possibility of an influx of flu patients to the emergency room.
Metroplex Hospital Director of Emergency Services Kathleen Kepler said if the influx of patients with flu-like symptoms begins, staff members will segregate those patients in a separate part of the hospital away from other patients.
Right now 15 to 20 percent of the patients who are being seen in the emergency room at Metroplex have the flu.
Health officials say they've seen an increase over the past few days and think flu numbers may be hitting their peak.
Kepler said the hospital wouldn’t implement this plan until that number gets closer to 40%.
Kepler said this year's flu season has been one of the worst in years and started earlier than normal.
Health officials say the best way to fight the flu this year is to get a flu shot and to see a doctor within 48 hours of when symptoms appear for an anti-viral such as Tamiflu, which could ease the flu and shorten the duration of the illness.
Metroplex will hold a free flu shot clinic from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Conference Room 4 only while supplies last.
For more information call (254) 519-8202 or go to the hospital’s website.
Meanwhile on Friday retail pharmacies in Killeen were facing flu vaccine shortages.
Target in Killeen sold out of flu shots Friday morning and placed an emergency order for more, which will be arriving Saturday.
The Target in Temple did still have flu shots on hand Friday.
Target Pharmacy Manager Kathleen Bishop said she saw a rush of people trying to get flu shots Friday.
Bishop said she's also filled more Tamiflu prescriptions this year than normal.
Walgreens on Trimmier Road in Killeen was sold out of flu shots Friday and the Walgreens on East Elms Road in Killeen expected to sell out late Friday.
Both stores stated they had ordered more but didn't know when they would be arriving and are asking people to call ahead if they need a shot.
The HEB Pharmacy on Trimmier Road in Killeen was also sold out of flu shots and expected to get another shipment soon.
Flu shots will given at the Scott and White Pharmacy on Monday on a walk-in basis while supplies last before 11:30 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m.
The pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.