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The flu season is among us, new tests are available to help patients receive the right medication

Updated: Oct. 14, 2019 at 4:32 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It’s flu season, and there is now a quicker and easier way to diagnose the flu.

It is too early to know how bad the flu is this year, but the Amarillo director of public health feels the number of flu cases is about average so far.

“Since that first week of September, we have seen about 75 cases of flu reported to the public health department,” said Director of Public Health Casie Stoughton.

This new hyper-accurate, rapid flu testing will be able to reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage.

Which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one third to one half of antibiotic use in humans is unnecessary.

“We always want to consider antibiotic resistance, so that responsible use of antibiotics and only giving antibiotics when its appropriate is best for our community,” said Stoughton.

The new test helps to not only cut down on antibiotic abuse but also help give faster and more accurate test results.

“It gives us a true positive test read with a 98 percent effectiveness, so that means that we can treat with antibiotics when we need to, instead of having antibiotic-resistant illnesses coming up. That’s a big topic right now in health care, so we are trying to prevent that here in the Panhandle,” said V.P. of Operations BSA Carexpress urgent care Trevor Spradling.

This year is the first flu season that this advanced technology is in the Panhandle. It is similar to other older testing practices, but is much more accurate and faster.

“Well, before we got the molecular test, we would do the rapid strep and flu test. The same kind of procedure as a swab for both of them but it doesn’t test as deep into the molecular level as what these do now, no, we get a little more accurate reading,” said Spradling.

This technology is used throughout all BSA offices, but it is also available in other doctors’ offices in the area, ask for the ID Now flu test when you see your doctor.

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