Dallas flu season only expected to get worse

The flu season this year in Dallas is the worst it’s been in years.

According to the CDC, Texas is one of 21 states with high flu activity. The flu is impacting most of the South and Western regions of the United States.

One doctor says things are only going to get worse as kids return to school. Despite the flu shot only being about 10 percent effective this year, doctors say getting it is still worth it.

Ryan Herrington had the flu shot well before the holidays. So when he first started feeling aches and chills, the flu was the last thing he suspected.

"Friday morning when I woke up, chills had increased,” he said. “By the time I went into the doctor, I'd put on three layers of clothing, thinking I was just cold."

Turns out Ryan was running a fever of 103. His doctor prescribed him Tamiflu and proceeded to quarantine himself in one room of his house, but it was apparently too late.

"I got it next,” his wife Lauren said. “We disinfected everything and still got sick."

Then, the Herrington’s 3- and 1-year-old daughters got the flu, too — despite all having had the flu shot.

“I've been here 29 years. This is the worst I can remember in 29 years,” said Dr. Jeff Goudreau. “Our group here of nine doctors has had at least 20-30 positive flu tests each day.”

The doctor only expects it to get worse.

“It's really going to explode in the next couple of weeks,” he warned.

Dr. Goudreau says one problem is if you get the flu, you're contagious even before you show symptoms. And once you get symptoms, getting better might take longer than you think.

"With an adult, it can take 7-10 days to get over the acute phase,” he explained. “And then for a month afterwards, you are feeling like you've been run over."

Dr. Goudreau still recommends people get the flu shot because it can help you get over the illness faster. For those who already have the flu, he recommends the usual treatments: Tylenol, fluids and rest.

So far this flu season, six people in Dallas County have died after getting the flu, and 379 people have been hospitalized.

With winter break ending, Dallas County is urging parents to keep a close eye on their children's health and keep them home from school if they are showing flu symptoms.

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