AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - While the spike in flu cases in Amarillo typically doesn’t occur until mid-January to early February, health care professionals say they already see an increase in both flu A and B.
“Trending the numbers over the past four weeks, we’ve seen a 40-percent increase, 40 to 50-percent increase in flu-like illnesses. We’ve begun testing for flu A and flu B. In the past week and a half alone, here at Town Square, we’ve had approximately forty cases tested positive for flu,” said Federick Poage, medical director at North West emergency rooms.
Kathryn Kleman, a nurse practitioner from BSA, says in all her years, this is one of the earliest she's seen flu cases.
“It’s not a full epidemic yet. There’s only a couple of sporadic cases so far. But encourage everyone to get their flu shots and steer clear of others who have a fever. The majority of the patients I’ve seen that have been positive for the flu have not received their vaccination.” said Kathryn Kleman, a family nurse practitioner at BSA.
Some health care providers have already made changes in the way they determine if you have the flu, just to keep up with the number of cases they're seeing.
“To expedite, you know, care for patients. We want to make sure we’re providing the best care in the most efficient manner. So since we already see the spike and our testing is positive, we’ve transitioned to a no testing policy at the moment or procedure, where if you come in and you have all the symptoms for flu. You’ve got a cough, you’ve got body aches, muscle aches, fatigue fevers, and chills, you’ve got the flu clinically. We don’t have to have a test to diagnose that,” said Poage.
While this spike is unusual for this time of year, health care professionals aren't sure what that means for the rest of the season.
“Last year, again we saw just a small number of flu cases at this time last year, and really started seeing that spike of higher volumes in mid-January into early February. We’re already starting to see that. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe we’re going to see an earlier spike this year, and then it will decrease, and maybe in January and February, it won’t be as bad. I think time will tell,” said Poage.