Texas Tops CDC List of Reported Flu Cases in October

Flu season is officially upon us, and a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contains an interesting piece of information for anyone who is pursuing a career in nursing in Texas.

Just three weeks into the flu season, Texas has had the most cases of reported flu-like symptoms in the nation. While the incidences of flu have been relatively few across the country so far, with 48 out of 50 states falling into the CDC's "minimal" range, Texas, with its rating of "low," stands out on the map.

Time for a flu shot
The most important takeaway from the report is that Texans should be a little bit more eager to get their annual flu shot than residents of other states. With more flu cases occurring in Texas, a concerted effort by doctors, nurses, pharmacies and patients is needed to head off the illness as its most active season progresses.

"It (flu) is still low, we don't want to freak people out," Anna Dragsbaek, president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, a Houston-based nonprofit group focused on immunization issues, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "But now is the time to get your vaccine. When the numbers get high, that means the flu is in widespread circulation and you could already be infected."

Busy season for nurses
This early news out of Texas suggests that as flu season really gets rolling later in the winter, jobs for registered nurses may get tougher, as they will have to endure a heavier load of sick people and individuals who want to get the flu shot to avoid the illness.

It will also be important to provide patients with flu information. Even though most cases of flu only lead to a few days of being laid up in bed, in rare instances it can lead to death.

"People with underlying illnesses can die from the flu," Dr. Robert Genzel, an emergency room physician, told the Star-Telegram. "Patients with heart disease, diabetes, COPD, any type of cancer or autoimmune disease, in fact anyone whose immune system is already compromised are more susceptible to a severe case of the flu and its side effects, like death."

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_nursing.

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