The Tarrant County Public Health Department says influenza is widespread across the county and following last year's track for a January peak.
Number of Flu Patients Rise in Tarrant County, Not Cook Children's
Cook Children's is preparing for a rise in flu patients in the coming weeks
Tarrant County hospitals and medical offices have started seeing a rise in the number of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms. (Published Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014)
Hospitals and doctors offices in the area are seeing lots of flu patients, while others are bracing for the number of patients to increase.
The North Hills Family Medicine offices in Keller started seeing a rise in patients about three or four weeks ago and it's remained steady ever since.
"Our volume has been increased, we've been very busy," said Dr. Gregory Fuller.
Fuller said that while this is the classic time of year to see a run of patients in his office, this flu season has been a lot busier.
"A lot of it has to do with the strain of influenza, this strain has been more virulent than last year's dominant strain," Fuller said.
Despite the impact of this year's flu strain, Cook Children's Medical Center, where the waiting room often hosts anxious parents, the story is a bit different.
"We just haven't seen the flu positives in as large amount as we have in years past," said Sarah Riley, Cook Children's assistant director of the emergency department.
This time last year, the hospital saw nearly 600 flu positive patients. The hospital has yet to see 300 this year.
"It usually takes a week or so after they get back into school," said Riley.
Tosha Godwin had to pick up her 10-month-old son Cash from his baby sitter on Thursday. He's got a cough, had a 103 degree fever and been unusually lethargic.
"It scares me. With him being so little, [I] definitely want just want to get it checked out," Godwin said.
A short time later she would learn Cash does indeed have the flu. Something she told NBC 5 she was worried about before the diagnosis was confirmed.
"You know with everyone getting sick and you hear kids dying, it just really scares me," Godwin said. "So the first sign of him being really sick, we brought him here. I'm not taking any chances."
And while Cash will soon be on the mend, he certainly won't be the last with the flu this year.
"This has been a busy flu season compared to last year," Fuller said.
Fuller said people younger than two, older than 65 or with health issues should see a doctor if they are feeling sick. Those patients are at the highest risk and their certainly seeing a lot of those patients at his practice.