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Flu cases on the rise in the Texarkana area - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Flu cases on the rise in the Texarkana area

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Texarkana, Texas -

While we're on track to see a peak flu season in January, health officials say there's already been an increase this week in cases across the Texarkana area.

Centers for Disease Control officials say parts of the country with the highest level of flu activity this week include: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

With an upswing in flu-like illnesses in the Christus Saint Michael emergency room, Dr. Robert Wycoff is encouraging everyone, if they haven't already, to get a flu shot.

"After you get your flu shot, you have a couple of weeks before your immune to it, said Dr. Wycott. "Certainly there is plenty of time to get your flu shot."

Symptoms of the flu include a fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose and body aches.

Health officials say it's best to seek medical attention within the first 48 hours of those symptoms.

Dr. Wycoff says they've already starting seeing 10 to 20 patients a day with the flu virus.    

"We're seeing mostly Influenza A, we've seen a couple of Influenza B," said Dr. Wycoff.

Reports of the flu are already widespread in the Dallas area, which has some health officials concerned that it will only be a matter of time before the flu makes even more rounds in the Texarkana region.

The flu season is typically from November to March, but Dr. Wycoff says your more likely to contract the virus during the holiday season.

"During the Christmas shopping season there are more people everywhere you go, you're in closer contact with people who might have the flu, and you're more likely to catch it," said Dr. Wycott.

He added that practicing good hygiene helps keep such illnesses from spreading, such as, good handwashing and covering your mouth or nose if you sneeze.
 
So far, this year three children have already died in the U.S. due to influenza.
    
Sadly, last year 169 infants and children died from the disease.
    
That's the largest number of pediatric deaths due to flu ever recorded except for the 2009 pandemic.

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