Brazos County sees spike in reported flu cases

BRYAN, Tex (KBTX)- It’s just the beginning of flu season and reported cases in Brazos County continue to rise.

Brazos County Health District has reports of influenza cases as early as the first week of October. In the last two months, there have been more than 1,400 cases. This time last year that number was only at 202.

Mary Parrish with Brazos County Health District says it’s not just Flu A and B that’s added to that growing number.

“We’re also seeing an increase in what’s known as ILI, influenza-like illnesses, these are viruses that mimic the flu,” said Parrish.

Dr. Jesse Parr is a local pediatrician with Texas Children’s Pediatrics and says he’s seen flu season fluctuate over his 40 years of practice.

“Influenza does vary from year to year and it’s hard to know what our total numbers are going to be because it’s still early,” said Parr.

Both Parr and Parrish say the best way to keep yourself healthy is simply by washing your hands.

“Your hands are a real effective vehicle for transmitting influenza,” said Parr “Cough into your elbow, not your hand, because you don’t go around picking up mom’s cellphone or grabbing doorknobs with your elbow.”

He says although washing your hands is a key factor, getting your flu shot is what’s most effective.

“The flu vaccine is really important for preventing the flu,” said Parr “It’s not perfect, you can still get the flu but if you get the flu vaccine you’re less likely to get the flu and you’re less likely to get bad flu.”

Parr says if you start to feel flu-like systems, to seek medical attention. He says there are medicines to help but in order to be effective, they need to be taken right away.

Starting December 13 anyone six months and older can get a free flu shot at the Brazos County Health District in Bryan.