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Flu Outbreak in Our Area

If you live in Amarillo and have the flu, be ready to wait.
The number of states in the US Reporting widespread flu cases has more than doubled in just seven days.

In fact, several states, including Texas, are reporting a spike in cases since the holiday.

That includes an increase in the amount of time you might spend waiting to see a doctor.

Here in Amarillo we haven't hit the peak of flu season just yet, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the traffic in many of our health care offices.

A local urgent care tells us 60-70% percent of their patients since December have been in for the flu, and some local pharmacies say this is only the begining.

Pharmacist Truett Simmons from Martin-Tipton says, "for our store we had more people last year you know get Tamiflu or any type of flu treatment.  But we're also pretty early in the season so i'd imagine over the next month or two we're going to see more and more."

We first reported last week that Christmas week was a bad one for the flu.

Amarillo Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson says the holidays can only be blamed partially for the spike.  

The main culprit, is us.

Richardson says, "if studies are correct, between 1 and 4 and 1 and 5 people will be vaccinated with an influenza vaccine.  That's just not enough to prevent a community outbreak."

Simmons says, "the flu shot is never 100% but still the best thing is to get it.  I mean now, even if you haven't gotten it yet go ahead and get it because it's better than nothing."

We did speak with one medical professional at a local urgent care and she tells us some patients being treated for the flu say they actually did get the flu shot this year.

But again, experts are still recommending folks to get the shot. 
 
Flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, but according to the CDC most of the time flu activity peaks in early February.

he health department estimates that between 24 and 32 people die each year in our area from the flu. 

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