Update: Flu Cases Continue to Increase at Cook Children's
Typically, the flu season starts in November and the spike can be in December or January, Dr. Phillips said.
While temperatures are warming up and spring is on its way, one thing is showing up that’s a little unusual for this time of year: the flu.
Flu cases continue to increase at Cook Children's Health Care System. From March 13 to March 19, there were 275 positive cases of influenza A and zero cases of influenza B.
Positive flu cases have steadily increased every week since mid-January.
For the week of March 6 through March 12, lab data showed that there were 242 positive and 511 negative cases of influenza A. There were zero positive cases of influenza B.
By this time of year, typically cases decline.
“But what we have seen over the last week or two is cases are actually on the rise,” said Pediatrician Alice Phillips, M.D. of Cook Children's Pediatrics Cityview.
There has been more activity during the 2021-2022 flu season compared to 2020-2021. Typically, the flu season starts in November and the spike can be in December or January, Dr. Phillips said.
Why is there a current increase in cases? One potential contributing factor comes from people wearing their masks less frequently and returning to pre-pandemic activities. On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new masking guidance for areas of low transmission of COVID-19. These guidelines can be read here.
With students out of school for spring break, it could potentially stop the spike of cases, but pediatricians will have to wait and see the data when kids return to the classroom, Dr. Phillips said.
What are the symptoms? What should I do?
It’s a good idea to get your child tested if you believe they have the flu, Dr. Phillips said. The symptoms are similar to COVID-19 because both have symptoms of fever, cough and a sore throat. Both illnesses could potentially pose a risk to someone who is immunocompromised.
If you have the flu, you should isolate. You can stop isolating once you’re fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine.
Common flu symptoms are:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than adults
When should we go to the doctor?
“I think anytime a parent has a concern about their child, they should call their provider because if you're worried, your instincts as a parent are very strong,” Dr. Phillips said.
She said also it could be good to bring them to the doctor if:
- They’ve had a high fever that you can’t control
- Showing signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, no tears in their eyes
- If your kid looks sick and you want them checked
Typically, a child can recover at home. You can call and get guidance over the phone if they’re keeping fluids down, and they’re resting and can control the fever.
Remember, it is not too late to get your flu shot. This serves as your best defense against the flu when combined with good handwashing.
Get to know Alice Phillips, M.D.
Doctor Phillips earned her undergraduate degree from Texas A & M University. After completing medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, she completed her Pediatric Residency at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. She and her family relocated to Fort Worth in 1996 when she joined Cook Children's Physician Network at the Cityview Office.
With two teenagers, one at home and one in college, life can be hectic but Dr Phillips has a passion for serving at-need Fort Worth Children. Serving the children of Fort Worth does not end at the end of the work day. She currently serves as the Founding Director for a Big Brother's Big Sisters, Big Hope Student Mentoring program through her church. This program matches at risk kids at FWISD's Rosemont Elementary School with mentors. She has served as a mentor for one such student at the school for the past 2 years. In addition to this she supports back to school uniform drives and Christmas projects to provide Christmas presents for over 500 FWISD Students.
To continue in her pursuits of helping at risk children, Dr Phillips is currently working towards her Masters in Public Health at University of North Texas Health Science Center..