Hospitals seeing unsually late spike in flu cases
There's a spike in flu cases nationwide and Central Texas is no exception.
Nine Central Texas Seton hospitals are seeing an increase in flu cases. From March 7-13 their hospitals saw 43 new flu cases. From February 29-March 6, they saw 42 new cases. Nearly half of the cases are at Dell Children's Medical Center.
"Usually we see spikes in flu in January or February," says Dr. Sujit Iyer, assistant medical director at Dell Children's Medical Center.
This year's flu season is peaking later than usual, but doctors are still seeing fewer cases than they have in years past. Lyer credits the flu shot which was 60 percent effective. "I think 60 percent effectiveness, the CDC will tell you, is good for a flu vaccine this year," he says.
Jennifer Davis' 10 year old daughter Brooke has been battling the flu for days.
"One day she was sick with 102.7 and the next day I was in the ER with 106 [degree fever] wondering what is going on with my daughter," Davis says. She's never seen the flu quite like this.
"You want to fall apart, but you can't because they're depending on you to take care of them to figure out, 'how do you make me better?' and that's your job as a parent," Davis says.
Doctors say the virus tends to spread through kids. "They don't have the habits to practice good hygiene and they're usually exposed to large numbers of each other all at once," says Iyer.
"Ultimately when one kid gets the flu, you're going to pass that on to multiple people," Davis adds. She believes her daughter caught the virus from a classmate.
Doctors say spring break travel could also spread more flu around. They urge people to sanitize their hands and workspaces frequently and stay home if they're feeling ill.
Dell Children's does have special visiting rules in place to help combat the spread of flu. In order to get inside the hospital you must participate in short health screening to determine if you're healthy enough to be in the building. They plan to keep the screenings in place until flu season subsides.