Travis County is seeing an early, active flu season as case numbers triple in days

Travis County’s flu positivity rate was nearly 33% for the week ended Oct. 8. It is traditionally below 1% at this time of year.

AUSTIN, Texas — An active flu season is already underway in Travis County the case positivity rate Tripled in the last few days, after Austin Public Health.

The department said emergency rooms were inundated with children suffering from symptoms of flu-like illness.

“Dell Children’s Medical Center, part of Ascension Seton, and St. David’s Children’s Hospital are currently experiencing an increased number of patients in pediatric emergency departments,” APH and local health facilities Ascension Seton and St Davids HealthCare said in a joint statement on Saturday. “We’re seeing an increase in childhood respiratory illnesses, not just in central Texas, but nationwide. Many children with symptoms of upper respiratory tract disease can be treated in a doctor’s office or emergency room. The ability to safely care for all patients is critical to providing continued healthcare services to our community and we ask for the community’s help.”

Health care providers said if a child has flu-like symptoms, parents should call their doctor or take their child to an emergency clinic. If they are having trouble breathing or have any other type of associated emergency medical condition, they should go to an emergency room.

RELATED: Respiratory diseases on the rise, especially in children

Travis County’s flu positivity rate was nearly 33% for the week ended Oct. 8. In the previous week it was 11%. Traditionally it’s less than 1% at this time of year.

APH recommends vaccinations and other preventive measures to prevent serious illness.

“It’s critical that everyone gets the flu shot if they haven’t already,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Department. “The numbers we are seeing are really worrying. Flu shots can help prevent serious illnesses and protect friends and family who are at high risk of poor outcomes.”

Anyone 6 months older is eligible for flu and COVID-19 vaccines, which can be given at the same time. APH offers both at Shots for Tots/Big Shots and most pop-up clinics.

Visit vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) to find flu and COVID-19 vaccine providers near you.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/health/travis-county-flu-season-case-rates/269-ec434bf0-92b5-4579-a711-d3c9e4b8f223 Travis County is seeing an early, active flu season as case numbers triple in days

Laura Coffey

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