Influenza (Flu)

Influenza is a respiratory illness that is common between October and March every year and can run as late as May. The peak of influenza season is most often in February, but it has seen peaks as early as December. Symptoms of influenza include: 

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
The best method for preventing infection with influenza is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is not 100% effective, but getting vaccinated will not only reduce the chances of infection, but can also reduce severity of the illness if it is contracted. It is important to note that there is a 14 day period between the time that the vaccine is administered and when it is fully effective (CDC, 2017). Prevention measures include: 

  • Vaccination
  • Regular hand-washing 
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoiding people who are ill
If you do contract influenza please remember that it is very contagious and that the best things you can do if you become ill are:

  • Remain home when you are ill 
  • Keep your children home if they are sick 
  • Cover your cough
  • Wash your hands
For more information about influenza visit the CDC's Influenza page

The Bell County Public Health District receives reports from several local hospitals about positive influenza cases and we also receive reports of what is called influenza-like illness (ILI). ILI is an indicator of influenza activity as ILI is a diagnosis that indicates possible influenza (a fever over 100 degrees F paired with a cough and/or a sore throat), but is not laboratory confirmed. Below are two charts the first of which is the month by month trend for ILI and the second shows the month by month trend for confirmed influenza. These numbers represent reports for the month of October 2018 and may not include all instances of influenza or ILI.  The charts show a comparison with the 2017-2018 influenza season. The blue line represents last season and the red represents this season. 

influenza type a
Figure 1: Confirmed influenza type A cases (comparing the previous flu season with the current flu season)

flu b
Figure 2: Confirmed influenza type B cases (comparing the previous flu season with the current flu season)

ILI October 18-19
Figure 3: Influenza like Illness (comparing the previous flu season with the current flu season)

Diagnosis

Total (Through October 2018)

H1N1

0

Flu A

5

Flu B

4

ILI

239

Table 1: Totals for 2018-2019 Influenza season in Bell County, TX

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2017) Influenza preventative steps. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm