Flu "Widespread" in Texas

Virus now considered widespread across state

By Scott Gordon
|  Friday, Jan 21, 2011  |  Updated 10:14 PM CDT
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The flu continues to march across <a title=Texas and health experts now consider it a "widespread" outbreak." />

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

The flu continues to march across Texas and health experts now consider it a "widespread" outbreak.

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The flu continues to spread across Texas and is now categorized as "widespread," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The influenza had been considered a regional outbreak.

At Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, doctors said they have noted an increase in flu patients – all complaining of the same horrible feeling.

"When you get the flu you feel like you've been hit by a Mack truck," said Dr. Terry McCarthy, an emergency room physician. "You just ache all over your body. You get aches and pains in your arms and legs and your back and you get a high fever."

He said people also get a sore throat, runny nose and cough, adding people of all ages are victims.

"It’s an equal-opportunity flu," he said.

He added the vast majority of patients do not require medical care and are sent home with the same advice: Get plenty of rest, drink a lot, and take Tylenol or Advil for the aches and fever.

In Oklahoma and Louisiana, the flu is also considered widespread and has forced some schools to close.

Experts cautioned the virus doesn’t usually peak until February and said the best way to prevent getting sick is to get a flu vaccine.

"You start building immunity right after you get the flu shot," McCarthy said. "It takes it two or three weeks before it's fully effective. But if I had not gotten my flu shot, I would certainly go out and get one."

The flu usually lasts from three days to seven days but can continue for up to ten days in the unluckiest of patients, he said.

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