Flu activity continues to ramp up, and has claimed a fifth victim this week, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported Jan. 7.
The latest patient was 85 years old, and a Cedar Hill resident, the agency said.
On Jan. 6, the health department also released its latest influenza surveillance report for the week ending Dec. 28. For that week, 31.6% of flu tests returned with positive results, and emergency room visits for flu symptoms increased as well, with 130 new flu-related hospitalizations.
In addition, the county reported that Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) tests are also reporting positive at a rate of 17%.
“We have seen an early increase in flu activity in Dallas this season. While we cannot predict the severity or duration of the flu season from year to year, the best way to protect yourself and others is to get your flu vaccine,” said Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS director.
“Getting flu vaccine is especially important for persons with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease-to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Practicing everyday preventive actions can also help slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses. These steps include: frequent hand washing, covering your coughs/sneezes with a tissue or into your elbow and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms. Finally, if you do get sick with the flu, take antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all persons aged 6 months and older. Individuals should discuss flu vaccine concerns with a health care provider.
It is not too late to receive your seasonal flu vaccine. Flu vaccines for adults and children are available at all DCHHS immunization clinic sites at no cost.