Doctors say the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to stay at home and there’s a unique approach people are using to fight the flu without having to leave their home.
The latest map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows we are still buried in the thick of widespread flu activity. The red indicates extremely high flu activity levels.
However, if you end up with the flu and don’t want to spread it, it’s literally as simple as dialing a number on your phone: 1-866-FLU CREW (358-2739)
NBC 5 caught up with the Flu Crew, a part of Dispatch Health, which is a mobile unit of Texas Health Resources.
The crew is made up of a nurse practitioner or physician assistant plus an EMT, traveling with everything you would see in a doctor’s office organized into multiple traveling kits.
The crew will show up on your doorstep without two hours of calling. They come straight into your home, test you for the flu using a swab kit and in 15 minutes you’ll have your answer.
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"It starts somewhere, and we are the ones in control of stopping it," said Barbie Lane, a nurse practitioner for Dispatch Health.
While Dispatch Health responds to any medical need, Lane said it is the only known mobile service that can administer flu tests and medicine for people in their own homes.
Rockwall mother Kendall Neurohr said the crew was just the option she needed to help her 7-year old daughter with the flu. She also has a baby and said she cringed at the thought of having to take both of them on a long journey to the doctor's office.
“The flu season is crazy. My daughter's school has so many kids out right now," she said. "Not having to have my little one around other germs was great and my 7-year old not having to leave the house and catch something else while her immune system is already compromised," she said.
If you have the flu, they’ll even administer your first dose of Tamiflu on the spot. If you need IV fluids from dehydration or even a nebulizer for trouble breathing, it’s all in the kit.
“There's always going to be something going on and we know this [flu season] is a big one. And it's one of the hardest to control in my lifetime that I've seen, so we don't want a big epidemic like ones that we've seen in the past," said Lane. "We already know it's an epidemic, but we are starting to take control.”
The Flu Crew just recently expanded to cover all of Tarrant County, so now they cover all of DFW.
They have five crews on the road, making up to 10 visits per day.
All major insurance, medicare and Medicaid cover the service.
"It is very contagious. It's a very challenging season. and the easiest way to minimize transmission is hand washing and if you're sick, don't leave your house - because you don't have to leave your house," said Lane.
Flu season is expected to peak at the end of February and last until March or April.
Doctors say it's still not too late to get your flu shot.