Flu cases spiking in Abilene

ABILENE, Texas - It's a bad year for the flu, especially in Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention say Texas is one of six states with "high" activity of influenza like illness.

Just in the last two days Hendrick Medical Center has seen 21 cases of the flu.

"We've been really inundated with patients coming in with flu like symptoms," Bonnie Stanke, RN at Hendrick Medical Center Trauma Center.

The Taylor County Public Health District said just in the last few weeks the number of people who reportedly have influenza like illness has skyrocketed. The week of December 8th there were 127 cases, the next week that more than doubled to 269, and last week that doubled again with 569 cases reported.

It's not even peak flu season yet. According to the CDC that doesn't happen until February.

"The flu peaked early this year so we feel like we're going to have even more cases in January and February," Stanke said.

Most cases this year are of the H1N1 variety. This year's vaccine is supposed to protect against that strain.

"It's still available I know some of the pharmacies here in town are still giving flu shots," said Stanke.  

What about people who think the vaccine could cause them to get sick?

"Normally if someone gets sick after having the flu vaccine they were already exposed to the flu and we're going to get the flu anyway. The vaccine is not a live virus and it doesn't make you sick," said Stanke.

The flu can hit anyone at any age, but there are some people who need to take the threat more seriously.

If you are over 65 or under 5, have a compromised immune system or are pregnant you are more at risk for flu related complications. Otherwise, the best thing to do if you get the flu is stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.

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