The Center for Disease Control says that more than 8,000 people in the U.S. have died from the flu this season. Locally, Grayson County has been spared from a large outbreak so far.
The flu season generally runs from October through February so it looks like Grayson County’s luck may hold out this year.
In an email, Grayson County’s Licensed Vocational Nurse Randy Brooks said there did seem to be an increase in the flu in Grayson County just before schools let out for the Christmas break.
“During the week ending January 19, schools across Grayson County reported 313 influenza-like illnesses out of a total of 2293 absences,” Brooks said.
He explained that an influenza-like illness is a respiratory illness characterized by fever, fatigue, cough or sore throat that has no other diagnosis.
“During the same week, providers across Grayson County reported 327 ILI’s. 64 cases of type A, 21 cases of type B, and 6 hospitalizations related to influenza,” Brooks said in an email. “Keep in mind, the numbers from schools and providers is not 100 percent accurate due to the fact that not everyone reports as they should.”
That doesn’t mean some folks locally aren’t suffering from the flu. And, more will likely get it before the season ends.
Brooks said it is not too late to get a flu shot and for it to work to ward off the illness. The state’s most recent influenza surveillance report for the week ending Jan. 18 shows that 7.3 percent of patients described an ILI to care providers. That is above the baseline of 4.8 percent. 34.7 percent of the specimens reported to the state were positive for influenza, and of those, 43.3 percent were influenza type B.
There were four institutional flu outbreaks reported to the state. They were in schools and long-term care facilities. Four flu-related pediatric deaths were reported during that period, and 13 such deaths have been reported so far this season.
Nationally, there have been 54 pediatric flu-related deaths this flu season.
“As always, the best advice we can offer is get your flu shot, stay way from sick people, cover your coughs/sneezes, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your own eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and stay home when you are sick,” Brooks said.