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Hospital officials: fluup

Burnet Bulletin of Burnet, Texas

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Hospital officials say their facilities are being bombarded with patients suffering from influenza.

Sherry Brown, Trauma Coordinator for Seton Highland Lakes in Burnet, said that the flu season has been underway for a few weeks already, and that the number in the Highland Lakes have mirrored Williamson and Travis counties.

"The Emergency Department has seen between 10 and 20 patients a day with flu-like symptoms," Brown said.

This year, occurrences of influenza have been mostly type A, with 80 to 90 percent being the H1N1 strain that made headlines in 2009.

"I don't think we've seen any patients who have been vaccinated, so it would seem the vaccination is providing very good protection," Brown said. "They're predicting the flu season will persist for awhile, so it's important for people to be vaccinated."

Brown said that the Center for Disease Control predicts each year what the current strain will be six month s ahead of flu season to prepare enough of the vaccination. She said that it would appear the prediction of the return of H1N1 was accurate.

"We're seeing a lot of cases in the younger population - people in their 20s, 30s, 40s - the two deaths in Austin were under 65," Brown said.

Brown described the symptoms of the flu as an immediate onset of fever, cough, severe body aches, red itchy eyes and possible nausea.

"One minute they're fine; 15 minutes later they're feeling awful," Brown said.

The virus is contagious even before the onset of symptoms, which can last up to two weeks, and is spread through droplets.

"The virus can live on surfaces for quite a while," Brown said. "Washing your hands is very important."

Another tool for battling the disease is Tamiflu, an antiviral medication which provides relief if it is taken early enough after the onset, Brown said.

"For families that have been exposed, physicians may prescribe Tamiflu to try and head it off," Brown said.

Atkins Pharmacy has several vaccinations left at both locations in Marble Falls. Vaccines are also available at Walgreen's and H-E-B locations.

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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