Three deaths in Houston area due to H1N1

Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 9:33am

After several deaths in the Houston area due to H1N1, a condition once commonly referred to as Swine Flu, there are understandable concerns about this flu season. Is H1N1 getting more aggressive, or is it just a case of more people getting sick? Ira Sargent has more.

"Anything that hit my lips I started throwing up." Brett Beach's symptoms were painful, aches, fever, "I was miserable and I was terribly dehydrated."

He's heard about recent deaths from a strain of flu called H1N1 in Montgomery County, so Beach didn't want to take any chances. He headed to St. Michael's emergency room to get treated for the flu, "They had an IV in me and injected me with some stuff that stops all the stomach cramps."

Doctors across the Houston area say they're getting a lot of patients like Beach, Dr. Jim Ferguson, St. Michael's Emergency Room,
"It's really starting to hit hard. We're seeing influenza A, and there have been some recorded cases of the H1N1 virus."

At the neighbors emergency room, no H1N1 yet, but Dr. Setul Patel they are seeing 50 percent more patients than usual with flu symptoms, "Yeah, most definitely this year we're seen an uptick in patient volume."

The CDC ranks Texas as one of three states with high levels of the flu, Houston Health Department officials say H1N1 is prevalent in the Houston area, Kathy Barton, Houston Dep't. of Health & Human Services, "We have seen a great deal of H1N1. In fact, 81 percent of the positive specimens that we have looked at were H1N1."

Health officials say the risk for death is low, usually in people already suffering from other illness or children. The best defense, they say, a flu shot.

Kathy Barton, "You can save the health of your family and other families also."

Or, if you are already noticing symptoms, see your doctor, the quicker, the better, Dr. Setul Patel, "Just antiviral medications we can prescribe, and that'll give you your best shot at fighting this thing off."

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