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HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Flu responsible for three deaths in Beaumont
BEAUMONT-By: Leslie Rangel
The flu is responsible for a third death in the city, according to the Beaumont Health Director.
Sherry Ulmer says all three cases are adults.
The first two are linked to H1N1.
The department is waiting to learn which strain is responsible for the most recent death.
According to the health director, the first two victims had underlying medical conditions.
A sign the flu season is hitting harder, Ulmer says 45 to 50 people have sought treatment in the emergency room at Christus Hospital Saint Elizabeth.
Doctors from teh emergency room at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont also tell us they've seen an increase in flu cases.
The waiting room at Baptist Beaumont Hospital is filled up.
"There is increased cases of flu in the recent weeks and there is typical season of flu and we have some serious cases of flu," Dr. Ali Osman, a doctor for the Baptist emergency room says.
Dr. Osman says when the symptoms become more serious than headaches and fever, it's time to act.
"But, if you're really unable to breath, if every time you move around you have to catch your breath, that would be a good indication to come to the emergency room," Dr. Osman says.
And most of the cases doctors in and out of the hospital treat are one strain of flu.
"Some of these cases could be suspected to be H1N1," Dr. Osman said.
The Beaumont Health Department has confirmed at least nine cases.
Three patients have died, so far two are linked to H1N1.
"The progression of the disease is more serious than H1N1. Patients are more short of breath, they're more fragile, look sicker.Anybody with the flu will be sick anyway but they look sicker, more short of breath, less oxygenation," Dr. Osman said.
That risk is why more people are taking precautions to protect their families.
"When you're around so many people during the holidays, you don't know if everybody has had their flu shot or not, so if you wear a big sticker, don't touch my grandson unless you've had a flu shot," Traci Young, a southeast Texas woman says.
"I had my flu shot. I don't think you guys have, no they haven't, but I got mine three weeks ago," Ann Hartwick another Southeast Texas woman says.
And doctors say there's something else families should do.
"To decrease spread of flu take over the counter medications to decrease to control their symptoms," Dr Osman says.
Doctors say you should go to your primary care physician or a pharmacy to take a flu shot.
You can also visit the health department.