County health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot before the holidays, following a spike in cases.
Doctors and hospitals had been reporting about 20 new cases of influenza each week until the last two weeks of November. In the third week of November, the number of positive cases reported in Denton County jumped to more than 70, and for the last week of November, more than 170.
While some are Type A influenza cases, most of those reported cases have been Type B. Type B flu viruses are found only in humans and usually trigger less severe reactions than Type A. Type A viruses mutate rapidly and are usually responsible for pandemics, although both virus types can be deadly.
Two years ago, Texans suffered through one of the state’s worst flu outbreaks in recent years. Nearly 10,000 people died of the flu in the 2017-18 season.
In addition to getting a flu shot, Denton County health officials urge residents to take preventive actions against the spread of germs, including washing your hands often, covering your cough and sneezing inside your elbow, avoiding people experiencing flu symptoms and staying home if you are sick.
Prescription antivirals are considered a good defense and can help you recover quicker if taken soon after symptoms appear, officials said. Visit your doctor if you have fever, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and a sore throat or cough.
The Denton County Health Department, Health Services of North Texas and many area drugstores offer flu shots. Locate the provider nearest you at vaccinefinder.org. More information on preventing the flu can be found on cdc.gov/flu. More information on reported local cases can be found at dentoncounty.com/flu.