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Rare summer flu cases reported in East Texas - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Rare summer flu cases reported in East Texas

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TYLER (KYTX) - It's not anywhere near flu season, but all over East Texas, hospitals and clinics are still testing patients positive for the flu. Doctors at Tyler Urgent Care have seen a spike of flu cases in may and just this week there have been several people coming in testing positive for the flu. They say it's extremely rare, but it's not unheard of.

One Tyler man in particular doesn't take the flu lightly. It's been six months since a strong flu strain attacked 38-year-old Will Goodson's lungs, and put him in a coma for three weeks.

Even though his kidneys had failed and his body was weak, he woke up and gained his strength back. Today, months later, he is still at home recovering, but he's alive. His wife, Soledad, calls it a miracle, but still can't believe the flu almost took her husband's life.

"I think a lot of people don't realize you can be healthy, and never have an underlying health condition, and this could be you. You could be laying in a bed just like him," Soledad says.

So even though summer flu cases are rare Soledad and Will Goodson want to remind you, they're no less serious.

Doctor Bill Wallace with Tyler Urgent Care say random flu spikes like this are more common after big flu seasons like we had last year.

"Influenza can hit any time for example, the H1N1 that was so bad several years ago, that started in August and September," Dr. Wallace says.

The problem is when the flu hits in these off seasons, you can't count on strong protection from the vaccine you got last fall.

"People who get a flu shot in the fall still have some protection in the spring and summer but it definitely wears off as time goes on," Wallace says.

Flu strains also change from season to season, so unfortunately, the strain you get this summer might not be covered in last fall's vaccine.

The bottom line? If you have a fever, headache, respiratory issues, and body aches, it really could be the flu. So head to the doctor, because as Will Goodson now says, "better safe than sorry."

We know the flu is an airborne virus and can be extremely contagious, it's always smart to keep washing your hands to make sure that the flu doesn't enter your home this summer. Try to avoid people who have been sick lately, and choose a fist bump over a handshake.

Dr. Wallace says even though the flu is going around again, it's not bad enough to get another vaccine this early. He says to plan on getting it again in early fall, so when the big season hits, you'll be fully prepared.

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