Rise in flu cases overwhelming health experts in Cameron County
A spike in flu cases is overwhelming doctor's offices in Cameron County.
Parents lined up with their children to get help outside an urgent care clinic in Brownsville. Luz Alvarado is one of them.
"I actually went to the urgent care, but they were over capacity as well at night, so I had no option, but to come this morning," Alvarado said.
Brownsville pediatrician Dr. Zamir says he normally doesn’t start seeing flu cases until September, but this year, he says cases started to pop up in late July and early August.
It's not just his office treating a high number of flu cases.
"All the pediatric practices are overwhelmed and the people are lined up and they're closing their doors and they're not accepting the patients and that brings the crowd to the urgent care that you saw last night," Dr. Zamir said. "All their patients are coming to urgent cares."
Dr. Zamir says he was forced to close for about an hour Tuesday morning because the lobby was so full. His staff is trying to keep up.
"The employees’ kids are sick and they cannot go to work, so they are taking time off,” Dr. Zamir said. “So we are lack[ing] employees in our practices."
Eighty percent of his patients are coming out flu-positive. The majority have mild symptoms.
It's not just the flu he's treating. Kids are also showing up with lung infections and the cold.
"We have thousands out here that we're trying to help as much as we can, but our resources are burning out," Dr. Zamir said.
Flu season is expected to be more severe this year now that COVID-related safety measures are more relaxed.
Dr. Zamir says the worst may be yet to come.
"We haven't got the cold front yet, Halloween is coming and the kids will be out there trick-or- treating," Dr. Zamir said. "Every year, we see the big strike after, day after Halloween, so we're going to be prepared for that and pray that it won't happen."
Dr. Zamir is asking parents to do their part and get their children vaccinated against the flu.
Keeping up with COVID-related safety measures, like washing hands, is also recommended.
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