Early Flu Outbreak Brings Concerns for Children

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012  |  Updated 12:11 PM CDT
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Doctors Seeing Early Start to Flu

NBC 5

The CDC is encouraging people to get vaccinated now before the rates of infection rise further.

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Flu Season Is Already Here

Most counties in North Texas are seeing an increase in the number of flu cases.

Doctors Seeing Early Start to Flu

Doctors are seeing an early start to the flu season, with some patients presenting symptoms even after they've had a flu shot.
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Pediatricians say they are alarmed by the number of flu cases they are seeing in children.

Flu season has arrived surprisingly early in North Texas, and it's shaping up to be a bad one.

"I've seen four confirmed cases today and saw three more last night working in the evening," Dr. Christopher Dreilling, from Pediatric Associates of Dallas who is also a pediatrician on staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, said Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are getting the flu more than a month earlier than usual -- and the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than normal.

"It's horrible," Tara Rowell said. "The first day that we got it, we thought we were dying and didn't want to get out of bed."

She and her husband are still recovering from their dual bout with the flu.

But children are among doctors' biggest worries this flu season.

"We're seeing kids of all ages and teenagers getting sick," Dreilling said. "Interestingly, the flu hits young adults and teens the hardest -- the sickest kids I've seen are 13 and 14 year olds."

But there is some good news. Dreilling said that the strains of the flu that are circulating seem to be a good match for the flu vaccine.

"I think if I had known, I would have gotten a flu shot earlier," Rowell said.

The CDC is encouraging people to get vaccinated now before the rates of infection rise further.

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