The first two flu deaths of the season in Dallas County have been confirmed. The patients were 59 and 66 years old according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
"We have to remember that we don't know their medical history. What we do know is that Dallas County has told us today that there are two patients that died of influenza," said Dr. Gorav Bohil, medical director for Trusted ER, Hillcrest.
While the possible pre-existing conditions of those two patients is uncertain, Dr. Bohil said his office has seen an influx of flu cases in the last few weeks.
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"Unfortunately, we have to remember that last year North Texas had over 150 flu related deaths," Bohil said. "And I don't want to say that two is not a lot, but we just don't know what the flu season has to hold for us this year. We have to be vigilant and we have to be prepared."
Bohil mentioned the best line of defense is the flu shot, followed by constant hand washing.
"The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] tells us every year that the efficacy of the flu shot is anywhere between 30 and 50 percent, but that's 30 to 50 percent than not having it," Bohil said.
Common flu symptoms are sneezing, coughing, high fever, fatigue and body aches. Bohil pointed out it was important to get medical help as soon as possible if you think you have the flu.
"The key thing is to come in within the first 48 hours of symptoms. If you are able to get in within the first 48 hours, then there are medicines that we can give you to help you get past the flu," Bohil said.
"We cannot predict the intensity, severity or duration of the flu season from year to year," said Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS Health Authority/Medical Director. "The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your seasonal flu shot."
It is not too late to receive the flu vaccine. DCHHS recently announced free flu vaccines for children at all six immunizations clinic locations
Dallas County Health and Human Services is extending their free flu vaccines for adults and seniors at several clinic locations and community events while supplies last:
• Main DCHHS Building 2377 North Stemmons Freeway, First Floor, Dallas, Texas 75207
• Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate 1210 River Bend Drive, Dallas, TX 75247
• Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the South Garland Branch Library 4845 Broadway Boulevard, Garland, TX 75043
• Jan. 30 from 1-3 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate 1210 River Bend Drive, Dallas, TX 75247