Staying Safe During Texas’s Flu Season
We’ve all seen it on the local and national news. This year’s flu season is hitting hard, with reports of children, mothers, and the elderly dying from the flu, it can be scary to think about you and your family getting sick this winter. Many hospitals around the country, and Texas in specific, are overcrowded with flu patients, but we here at Kyle ER want to make sure you get the information you need when it comes to this year’s unique flu infection.
Why is the Flu so bad this year?
Flu infection rates are always high, but something feels different this year. Many people who have received flu shots are still getting infected, and with reports of patient deaths, this year’s flu season feels like it is affecting more and more people every day.
While studies actually find that infection rates for the 2017-2018 flu season are about the same as they’ve always been, it is actually the strain of flu which is particularly bad this year. According to the CDC’s report, the dominate strain of flu this year is H3N2. H3N2 is a strain of flu that is less common, which means that we all have less exposure to it, and our immune systems have a harder time fighting it.
H3N2 is also notorious for having complications and being hard to treat. With this particular kind of flu on the rise, patients and physicians alike are trying to battle an uncommon and strong enemy.
But what about my vaccine?
Flu vaccines are always recommended. Hands down, it is one of the best ways to ensure you and your family don’t catch the flu. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the vaccine is not enough, and patients can still get the flu. This year, the flu shot is having a harder time keeping the virus at bay, just like everyone else. That is because influenza is a rapidly mutating virus. It is always evolving so that every year, it can come back and re-infect people. Usually, scientists can predict the strain of influenza and grow their own vaccine for it in chicken eggs. But, this year, because the strain of flu is H3N2, the vaccine itself mutated while it was being made, and so it has not been as effective against this particular strain of flu.
That doesn’t mean flu shots are a waste of your time this year, though. Many patients who have gotten the flu, despite having flu shots, are able to fight off their flu symptoms much easier than patients without a flu shot. The vaccine still bolsters your immune system and helps you to shake the illness away.
What do I do if I get the Flu?
In Texas, there is a particularly high rate of flu infections. According to Walgreens’ annual flu index, Texas cities hold 9 out of the 10 spots on the nationwide list of “Top 10 Designated Market Areas with Flu Activity.” In short, that means more people in Texas are getting sick this year. Which means that more people are flocking to hospital ERs for help when they fall ill with this particularly bad strain of flu.
Overcrowding in hospitals can become a new health hazard in itself. Patients must sometimes wait hours before they are seen, and when a severe case of H3N2 is being treated, hours can make a real difference. But luckily, if your hospital ER is too crowded, you have a choice in your healthcare. Kyle ER is a fully equipped, freestanding ER with the resources to help treat patients with this year’s flu.
We always encourage our patients to always seek medical attention if you or your family member is exhibiting signs of the flu. This year’s flu strain is unique, and even if you’ve had the flu before, you might have had H3N2 before. Consult with a physician to find out what treatment will help you recover faster.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.