Is the worst of flu season behind us? -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Is the worst of flu season behind us?

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The number of new flu cases has declined in the last week in East Texas, causing some doctors to say it looks like flu season peaked early this year.

There's no doubt influenza has been a challenge in the last few months. Doctors say the virus has been aggressive and took its toll early.

"Typically flu doesn't really pick up until January or February, but we really saw a lot in December, but have seen it taper here into January," explains Momentum Urgent Care Dr. Benjamin Constante.

Dr. Constante is seeing fewer patients with flu-like symptoms and he's administering fewer flu tests.

Tuesday, he had one positive flu test. He says he did not have any positive tests Monday and he only had a couple positive tests over the weekend.

East Texas Medical Center in Tyler has seen a similar trend. During the week of January 12, the hospital says they administered more than 150 flu tests and had a total of 22 positive tests.

While the data does reflect the downward trend that doctors are seeing, they say you can't always rely on what the swab says.

"Those tests are not perfect," says Dr. Richard Wallace at UT Health Northeast.

"In the last two weeks, I've seen a large population of influenza-type symptoms...all of my tests are negative, but I treat them anyway," explains Constante.

Constante says he hasn't seen a shortage of flu medications or flu tests available in East Texas this year, but as we know, there has been a shortage of hospital beds, and doctors have been busy. That's why they're encouraging people with flu-like symptoms to forgo the emergency room, if they can, and head to a local doctor's office or clinic for diagnosis and care.

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