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Beaumont health director reacts to flu outbreak
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
The Beaumont public health director is urging people to get a flu shot if they haven't already as the number of reported flu cases dramatically increases.
Kings Pharmacy in Beaumont is one place where people can get vaccinated. Wednesday, people stopped by to do more than pick up medication as the flu season and holiday season hit at once.
"If you want to enjoy your Christmas, it's something you should probably think about," Michael Hosford said. He got a flu shot at the pharmacy Wednesday.
Cindy Le works at the pharmacy. She already got her three year old son vaccinated.
"He actually got it about two months ago whenever we first started giving them out in September," Le said. "We decided to give it to him this year because actually last year he got the flu and we didn't give him his flu shot and he got the flu."
This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Texas is one of three states where the flu is at its' worst.
The Beaumont public health director said the number of reported flu cases in Beaumont have nearly tripled. At least two of the patients have the H1N1 strain.
"This is a respiratory virus so close contact, coughing, someone else inhaling those respiratory droplets, it's almost a guarantee that they're going to start to experience the symptoms of the flu," Sherry Ulmer said. She's the director of the Beaumont Public Health Department.
Ulmer said the the flu season doesn't typically peak until February which means numbers are likely to continue rising.
"We just want to be sure that we're making people aware so they can take the necessary precautions to prevent themselves and their families from getting sick," Ulmer said.
Precautions that include getting a flu shot. Ulmer said other ways people can reduce the impact of the flu include staying home from work or school if they've come down with the virus and washing their hands.
People over 6 months old are encouraged to get vaccinated.
Ulmer said groups most at risk for complications from the illness include pregnant women, young children, people over 65 years old and anyone with a chronic medical condition.
Each year, about 24,000 people in the U.S. die from complications from the flu.
Click here for information from the CDC about the flu