LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock emergency centers report a significant drop in the number of people coming in with the flu. That's despite the fact we're in peak flu season.
Flu dominated the media just a few months ago. Now, doctors say increased awareness may be why we're seeing so few cases. Still, they warn folks about becoming too comfortable, because a third wave of flu could still sweep across the area.
"We are seeing some flu reports; they're very low right now, very low," Becky Brawley with the City of Lubbock Health Department said. She says they've seen a significant drop in the number of people with flu or flu-like symptoms.
"Predominately it would have been way more than half of the patients this time last year would have been seasonal flu," Doctor Joe Sasin said. He says they've also seen an overall drop in the number of flu cases at University Medical Center's Emergency Center. "The awareness that was created, I think, helped avert a big problem," Sasin said.
Covenant Health System's Infection Control Special tells us their numbers are also lower than usual. Last week Covenant only had three people test positive for flu out of 137 flu screens. "People who probably wouldn't have gotten immunized in the past have gotten immunized," Sasin said.
"That could be a reason that we're seeing fewer cases," Brawley said. She says the health department distributed 1,500 doses of seasonal flu vaccine and by late January, they had vaccinated more than 8,000 people for H1N1.
Still, the CDC warns of another wave of sickness. "They expect to see Swine Flu, and Seasonal Flu, predominately H1N1 for several months. It will probably last into the summer," Sasin said.
That's why local health leaders say if you haven't been vaccinated, now is the time to do so. "It's free here at the health department, so if folks want to come here, bring their children, we have an ample amount of vaccine," Brawley said. She says their supply is limited to the H1N1 Vaccine, though.
She tells us that she doesn't know of any provider in the area with seasonal flu vaccine left. Brawley says even if you're healthy, it's important to vaccinate to protect those who may have immune problems.
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