Flu season off to an early and deadly start

Dangerous flu season

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) -Flu season is now underway for most of the United States, the earliest start in more than 15 years.

So far, four texas children have died of flu complications this season, including one in Wichita County.

"The first pediatrics death that has ever been reported that I can remember as long as I have been here at the health dept. and so I think that speaks to the severity of influenza that we have seen this year," said Director of Health Lou Kreidler.

There are different types of flu viruses, and the one causing illnesses in most parts of the country is the "B" strain. It's a version that normally doesn't come until March or April.

"Right now, we are actually in the widespread zone. we are definitely seeing an uptick we were seeing a lot of cases before thanksgiving luckily the thanksgiving break hit at the right time and help to decrease the case, but we are starting to see more cases," said Physician Assistant Lee Ackley.

Doctors are urging if you haven't been vaccinated; it not too late.

"Getting vaccinated is really the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. Even if the strain that you get isn't covered by the shot, you have a lesser severity of influenza."

Health officials warn that though we see the flu virus sooner does not mean that it will be over sooner.

The CDC estimates that there have been at least 1.7 million illnesses, 16,000 hospitalizations and 910 deaths from the flu so far this season.

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