Health Officials Promote Flu Shots - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Health Officials Promote Flu Shots



    While a Dallas father waits to find out if his daughter died from flu complications, doctors and health departments are urging everyone to get vaccinated. Adults 65 and older and children are at high risk for getting the flu. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013)

    Health officials are continuing to stress the importance of getting vaccinated for the flu.

    Experts say too many people who are insured do not get flu shots, allowing the virus to spread.

    "We've got a lot of people out there who have myths about the flu shot and don't take it, and what we're seeing right now is that we don't have that widespread vaccination that we need against the flu virus, and that's contributing to the problem," said Zach Thompson, Dallas County health director.

    Forrestwood Middle School in Flower Mound is hosting a free flu clinic Wednesday night in part to honor the memory of Max Schwolert, a high school student who recently died of a combination of the flu and a staph infection while on vacation in Minnesota.

    Dallas County does not have any confirmed flu-related deaths in children as of Wednesday.

    The family of 6-year-old Tahila Johnson, who died the day after she visited a hospital emergency room in Mesquite with flu-like symptoms, is awaiting the results of an autopsy.

    "It would be surprising to have a healthy child get influenza and then have a fatal illness the next morning," said Janet Glowicz at Parkland Hospital. "That takes a community off their feet. It's a very tragic thing. It can happen; it is uncommon."

    Experts say 90 percent of influenza-related deaths are in adults age 65 and older with other health complications.

    But experts say children are also high-risk.

    "Flu can be fatal for healthy young people," Glowicz said.

    Children can have medical issues that have yet to be diagnosed, such as diabetes or cancers.

    NBC 5's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.