AUSTIN (KXAN) - Doctors at Dell Children's Medical Center in East Austin watch flu cases closely. The number of cases is now beginning to rise.
"We started seeing flu appear a little over a month ago," said Chief of Emergency Medicine at Dell Children's Medical Center Dr. Pat Crocker. "It's gradually creeped up locally to about 9 1/2 percent of the the people with what we call influenza-like illness, cough, sore throat, fever, are testing positive for flu."
Schools are beginning to feel the flu's effects too. Two schools in Round Rock, Cactus Ranch Elementary and Forrest Creek Elementary, have had absentee rates of 10 to 15 percent recently because of flu-like symptoms. School workers are doing extra cleaning on each campus, and parents have been reminded to report flu cases to the schools.
At Austin Regional Clinic's south location, Pediatrician Dr. Avis Meeks Day reports more cases of flu recently along with upper respiratory infections and croup.
The flu, in particular type A, is also showing up in Marble Falls and Burnet. Dr. Michael Dickey has had multiple positive flu cases at Texas Hills Urgent Care along with sore throats, coughs and colds. His urgent care office in Bee Cave has also seen a growing number of flu cases especially in children. Coughs, colds and allergy related symptoms have also been prevalent.
Emergency room physicians at St. David's Medical Center in central Austin report treating a spike in flu patients too.
Even with all of the flu cases reported, it may still be too early to tell how badly the flu will really hit us this year.
"Austin is still behind the state which right now is reporting eighteen and a half percent positive rate, but that's down from just two weeks ago when it was as high as 3thirtypercent. So it's hard to know if this is a little variation or if we're going to have a very light flu season this year. "
Doctors and school health officials remind everyone that this is the time of year to really focus on washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes. Although it takes about two weeks for a flu shot to give you immunity, it is not too late to get the vaccine.
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