Cases of the flu and another common respiratory virus are on the rise in North Texas, and doctors say both could get worse over the holidays.
Dallas County reported its first flu death of the season Thursday. The Dallas Health Department said the man had several underlying medical conditions. According to statistics provided by Dallas County, flu cases are on the rise in North Texas.
“The patients we are seeing at this time with the flu are presenting the classic symptoms, body aches, chills, fever, fatigue, sore throat,” said Dr. Cynthia Dott, medical director of Primacare on Mockingbird Avenue in East Dallas.
Dott said all 11 North Texas Primacares have reported an increase in flu activity.
According to Dallas County health officials, just more than 10 percent of influenza tests in North Texas came back positive last week, double from the previous week.
“We are just at the start of flu season,” said Dr. Wendy Chung, chief epidemiologist for Dallas County. “Expect it in the next few weeks for it to become especially intense.”
Doctors say they are also seeing more cases of respiratory syncytial virus, another common virus that appears in the winter. RSV tends to affect children more than adults. While RSV tends to be milder than the flu in adults, it can be more severe in infants.
The health department reported that 16 percent of RSV tests in North Texas came back positive last week.
While it can be hard to differentiate between RSV and the flu, doctors say patients with the flu tend to have higher fevers and body aches. The only way to know for certain is to get an influenza test from a doctor.