Increasing cases of flu this season

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That spike is comparable to the amount seen during the entirety of last year's flu season, and local hospitals have felt the strain. The dominant influenza A strain is H3N2, a subtype of influenza A, viruses which tend to cause more severe disease in the very young and the elderly. Only pediatric flu deaths are required to be reported, but Tarrant County Public Health does receive some voluntary information from its healthcare community partners.

The department said last week that the state was experiencing "the highest number of seasonal cases this early since influenza tests became reportable" and that Arizona hasn't seen widespread cases until February in the past two years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season nationwide is far worse than what they saw a year ago at this time.

While October is the month most generally recommended by doctors for getting an annual flu shot, there's still time to do so.

"If you already have the flu we'd advise people to follow the message "Catch It, Bin It, Kill It". A flu shot can also reduce a child's chance of dying from the flu. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, people who still get sick may have milder symptoms.

Earlier Wednesday, Tarrant County reported three flu-related deaths, the first ones of the season. H3N2-dominant flu seasons are associated with more severe illness, especially among children and older adults.

Experts warn this year's flu season could be worst than other years and with school back in session, it means its open season for the flu virus to spread.

"Flu is hard to predict", said Dr. Clint Koenig, Ohio Department of Health medical director.

Flu symptoms can come on suddenly with a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache and fatigue, though not everyone with the flu runs a fever, Rohler noted.

Once someone gets the flu, there is no medication or treatment to get rid of it until it runs its course. The flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions. But for certain serious viral infections - HIV and hepatitis C are good examples - highly effective antiviral drugs have revolutionized care, prevented suffering, and saved countless lives.