Sharp increase in West Texas flu cases

Sharp increase in West Texas flu cases
Dr. Jonathon Skelton is the Chief Medical examiner at Star ER (Source: KCBD Video)

(KCBD) - Dr. Jonathon Skelton is the Chief Medical Officer at Star ER.

He says, "Over the last few weeks we've seen a lot of increased activity with the flu and also with a flu-like virus..."

Dr. Skelton warns that the map for the flu and this flu-like virus are both widespread.

Over the past three weeks at Star ER, doctors say that they are seeing 13 to 15 patients a day experiencing flu-like symptoms, which are body aches, chills, and a fever over 100.4.

But Dr. Skelton says there are a few simple tips you can follow so you don't end up here, too.

"The main thing that they can do to stay safe is to make sure they're using good hand washing."

"If you are sick, if you are ill, you need to stay home until your doctor says that it is safe for you to return and not be contagious to those around you. That's going to be the thing that is going to help the public the most."

He says that in most cases, a primary physician can take care of your basic flu symptoms but you should go to the hospital, "If you have more significant issues, a lot of respiratory issues. There's confusion associated with this, things like that - the appropriate venues would be an ER setting for that, either at a hospital or at a standalone ER like Star ER."

But along with the flu, there's also a flu copycat going around.

Dr. Skelton says, "This current virus looks to be providing more gastrointestinal and upper respiratory symptoms, both of which the flu can do as well, so it is a little bit difficult to distinguish the difference for health care professionals, and so we do rely somewhat on the flu test."

Dr. Skelton says it's still not too late to get your flu shot, "Even though we're seeing decreased success rates with the flu vaccine, at least 30 percent of patients will get benefit from it, so it's still recommended to get the flu vaccine."

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