It's getting serious

sick teddy bear, heading "Pediatric Flu Death"

The holidays are here and we at Tarrant County Public Health are gearing up for what could possibly be a serious flu season (flu graph). You may have heard or seen news reports about the increase in flu cases. Tarrant County already has had one child die from flu-related causes. That is one too many.

Our flu tracking is an ongoing process, and includes reviewing reports from hospitals and doctor's regarding the number of patients they see with influenza-like illnesses, as well as school absentee reports and test results from the North Texas Regional Laboratory. We publish weekly flu reports that anyone can follow.

The reports go into greater detail than I will here, but I do want to emphasize that there are ways to fight and stop the flu. We take this seriously because flu can kill.

My best advice: practice good hygiene, which includes frequent hand washing, and get a flu shot as soon as you can. Remember that keeping yourself protected also protects those around you. The flu vaccine isn’t perfect but it does offer some protection.

And getting the flu is a terrible way to spend the holidays.

We want you and your family to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season. We wish you the best and look forward to happy, healthy days in the new year!

Happy holidays and best wishes to you all!

Verrinder "Vinny" Taneja,

Director, Tarrant County Public Health