Texoma flu cases soar as season nears peak - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Texoma flu cases soar as season nears peak

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Doctors advise getting a flu shot even though it may be less effective this year. (KTEN) Doctors advise getting a flu shot even though it may be less effective this year. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- Flu season is in full swing, and health officials in Ardmore say they are seeing outrageous numbers of flu victims.

This year's flu shot is said to be only about 10 percent effective, meaning that nine out of 10 people who were exposed to the flu after being inoculated could still get it.

Despite that, the vaccine is still recommended.

The Centers for Disease Control says Texas, Oklahoma, and surrounding states have seen a huge increase of reported influenza cases over the past three weeks.

Ironically, the flu vaccine itself could be to blame for the high numbers.

"Each year, the vaccination makers, they make the most popular strands. And they make the immunization based off that," explained Carter County Health Department nurse Rebecca Burton. "It's just a guess based on what has happened in years past. And so a lot of times we guess right, and sometimes we guess wrong."

But Mercy Hospital emergency medicine physician Dr. Lindsay Marshall said you should still roll up your sleeve and get a flu shot.

"You can rely on the flu shot to a certain degree, even if it's not an exact match," she said. "If it is even a partial match, you might get the flu but it would not be nearly as severe as if you hadn't had the flu shot."

A further increase in cases is still expected as flu season nears its peak. And with local emergency rooms filling up with aches, pains, and fevers, doctors are urging patients to try other options first to minimize wait times for more critical patients.

"They are always welcome here, but it is best this time of year when we are seeing 100 to 150 people a day in an E.R. that is used to seeing 80 to 100 to go and utilize the access of a primary care doc," Marshall said. "Just because your wait times will be minimal and you're not exposed to all the illnesses that are in a typical E.R."

If you haven't had your flu shot yet, the Carter County Health Department is offering a free vaccination drive-thru at Ardmore's Fire Station No. 1 at 115 North Rockford Road next Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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