Flu cases on the rise across North Texas

Flu cases are rising in North Texas and so is the number of patients in emergency rooms.

The flu virus thrives in cold temperatures, but experts say don't be deceived by warm days like Monday.

The number of flu cases is up in many areas and is expected to get worse before it gets better.                     

Folks in Dallas were outside Monday taking advantage of an unseasonably warm January day. The picturesque day was in stark contrast to the concerning news that flu cases are increasing across North Texas.

“The flu is alive and well,” said Dallas County's Interim Health and Human Services Director Ganesh Shivaramaiyer. “We are getting reported cases of the flu, and we definitely have to take precautions.”

Shivaramaiyer says the number of reported flu cases has increased by 15 percent from last week, with some 1,200 people testing positive for the flu. The primary culprit is Influenza A.

The good news is the number of cases is down drastically from this time last year. Plus, there have not been any reported deaths.

Children's Medical Center in Dallas has seen 103 cases of the flu each of the past two weeks. That's nearly double the number of cases in mid-December.

The Tarrant County Health Department reports a 40 percent increase in flu cases over a two-week period in December and above-average flu activity so far this year.

Doctors say it's not too late to get the flu vaccine, adding that this year's vaccine seems to be working very well.

It's interesting to point out that cook Childen's in Fort Worth has seen a decrease in the number of flu cases from the previous week. They seem to be in the minority.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to get a vaccine. Some doctors say those who are vaccinated and still get sick this year have milder symptoms.

It's also important for everyone to frequently wash their hands, especially as kids head back to school and are possibly carrying the flu bug picked up during holiday travel.

The winter break might have been a reason Cook Children's saw a drop in cases last week.

“What probably happened is that kids got out of school, hung out at home and weren't around each other as much,” said Dr. Diane Arnaout with Cook Children’s. “Now that they're starting school again this week, I have a feeling we'll probably see another upswing.”

The symptoms to look out for a runny nose, cough, sore throat and high fever. Doctors say it's important if you think your child has these symptoms to keep them out of school and get them checked out.