Northeast Texas has been hit hard this season by influenza, and the Health and Human Services Department has run out of adult shots. Already, multiple school districts have closed due to the illness among their students and staff – from Hugo ISD in Oklahoma, to North Lamar ISD, Detroit, Roxton and Bonham ISDs to Mt. Vernon ISD. To date, seven cases of flu-related deaths have been reported in Dallas County, alone.
“We declared flu season at Paris Regional Medical Center on Jan. 7, 2019, when we noted a spike in the number of people with flu-like symptoms and positive results,” said Christy Armes, infection prevention manager for PRMC. “In January, we tested 394 people with 112 positive Type A and 3 positive Type B in Paris.”
Armes said flu symptoms include a 100 degree F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever), a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches and/or body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children).
“To prevent spreading viruses to others, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, clean your hands often using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and be sure get your flu shot,” Armes said. “The best way to prevent the flu and spreading illness is by getting vaccinated each year.”
The flu vaccine that Health and Human Services in Paris provides is a quadrivalent shot that protects against two strains of Type A and two strains of Type B, said Mark Lueke, epidemiologist for Paris.
“We’ve run out of the adult shots,” he said. “We do still have shots for people ages 0-18 years of age and those shots are $14.”