Flu spreading at higher rate in Lubbock

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Updated: 1/12/2013 11:47 pm
The flu is nothing to sneeze at. The nationwide flu outbreak seems to be doing anything but slowing down, and Lubbock is no different.

"Week 52, which is Dec. 29, that's when that ended, our number of cases for influenza-like illnesses was 374," Beckie Brawley, Public Health Coordinator, said. "Then last week, when that week ended, it was 1,012. So it substantially increased over that week."

Brawley said certain demographics have a higher chance of contracting the flu.

"They see a lot of pediatric cases, but also, they see a lot of very young and very old, because their immune systems are not as well and healthy as an in-between person, so they're a little bit more compromised," Brawley said. "So, we have to worry about those cases. In lubbock, there are a lot of pediatric cases, but I think it's pretty equal, pedi and older people."

The spike in flu cases among children has also led to the nationwide shortage of Tamiflu, which was just recently approved for children as young as two weeks old.

"The Tamiflu, of course, when it first hit, we had a problem making sure we had enough, but we've compensated for that, and we've got plenty of Tamiflu," Chris Longbine, a pharmacist for United Supermarkets, said.

Longbine said they've seen more people trying to get rid of the flu, rather than prevent it altogether.

"We saw a lot more of the drugs for the flu, like the Tamiflu, I guess starting about a month ago," Longbine said. "That really hit hard, it's kind of dying down a little bit, and now we're seeing a lot of flu shots, especially from the national news, a lot of people afraid they didn't get their flu shot, and they're headed in since it's so prevalent right now."

He said even if you are not usually affected by the flu, it's better to be safe than sorry.

"The CDC website says that probably 99 percent of the virus that's going around right now is covered in the flu shot," Longbine said. "So if people will get their flu shot, they'd be covered by most of the strains going around right now."

Aside from the shot, you can help avoid coming down with the flu by keeping your hands away from your face as much as possible, and wash your hands every chance you get. Lots of rest is important, as is following a good, healthy diet.
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