Flu

While Coronavirus Dominates Headlines, Doctors Don't Want You to Forget About Flu

Doctors say don't let your guard down

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While the novel coronavirus out of China dominates the headlines, local doctors don't want you to forget that flu season is still happening and it's still infecting and killing more people in the United States.

That's why local doctors don't want people to let their guard down.

According to the latest flu report in Dallas County, more than a dozen adult deaths and one pediatric death have been reported in the county during the current flu season, with more cases pending.

Local health officials are also confirming a higher rate of flu cases than the rest of the nation.

About 26% of all flu tests in Dallas County this season have come back positive, compared to 23% nationally, according to local health officials.

The latest report for Dallas County also shows ER visits for the flu are high with 116 new flu-related hospitalizations reported on the weekend ending with Jan. 18.

Over in Tarrant County, data shows flu-like illness reports have gone down a little more than 1% throughout the first two weeks of January. However, cases still remain higher than average.

With flu season still in full swing and no end in sight until March or April, doctors at Methodist Dallas are still urging people to get their flu shots.

"We did have an early season this year and we actually think it may be bi-modal, where it peaked once and will peak again towards the end of February -- we're concerned about that since it was so early this year. and yes, we see deaths in the U.S. every year so that's why for us the flu is more of a concern in the coronavirus at this point," said Brad Sellers, an emergency room doctor at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

According to a preliminary in-season report by the CDC, between 15 million to 21 million people across the country have had the flu, with 8,200 to 20,000 deaths nationwide so far this flu season. It's estimated up to 250,000 people have been hospitalized.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot more flu. And that’s kind of being put on the backburner compared to the coronavirus. We see way more deaths in the U.S. from the flu each year and that’s why we’re still recommending people get a flu shot every year to avoid getting the flu," Sellers said. "And if you have the flu, avoid going to work or going to school to avoid exposing people to the flu virus."

On Tuesday, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport announced it is one of 20 American airports selected for implementing health screenings for passengers arriving from China.

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