A total of nine people have died so far this flu season as Dallas County health officials announced three more flu-related deaths this week.
Dallas County Health and Human Services said the patients were 73, 64, and 65 years of age with pre-existing medical conditions, and all were residents of Dallas County. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, DCHHS does not provide additional identifying information.
“These flu deaths are a reminder of how serious flu is, and how important it is for everyone six months and older to get their flu vaccination and practice prevention measures”, said Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS Director and Health Authority.
Overall, federal health officials said Texas is among the states with high numbers of reported flu cases.
The most recent county influenza surveillance report was for the week ending Jan. 4. Flu tests returned positive results 24% of the time, with 134 flu-related hospitalizations. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) tests are also reporting positive at a rate of 15.3%.
“Getting flu vaccine is especially important for persons with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease-to decrease their risk of severe flu illness,” Huang added. “Practicing everyday preventive actions can also help slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”
Huang recommended frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into your elbow, and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms.
“Finally, if you do get sick with the flu, take antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them,” he added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all persons aged six months and older, with rare exceptions. Officials said that it is still not too late to get a flu vaccine, and they are available at all county immunization clinic sites at no cost.