Summer flu cases showing up in Tyler

Published on Monday, 30 June 2014 22:31 - Written by Courtney Friedman, KYTX CBS19

It’s not anywhere near flu season but across East Texas, hospitals and clinics are still testing patients who are positive for the flu.

Doctors at Tyler Urgent Care saw a spike in flu cases in May, and this week, there have been several people who have tested positive for the flu. They say it’s extremely rare, but it’s not unheard of.

One Tyler man, in particular, doesn’t take the flu lightly. It’s been six months since a strong flu strain attacked 38-year-old Will Goodson’s lungs and put him in a coma for three weeks.

Even though his kidneys had failed and his body was weak, he woke up and gained his strength back. Today, months later, he is still at home recovering, but he’s alive. His wife, Soledad, calls it a miracle, but still can’t believe the flu almost took her husband’s life.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize you can be healthy, and never have an underlying health condition, and this could be you. You could be laying in a bed just like him,” Mrs. Goodson said.

Dr. Bill Wallace, of Tyler Urgent Care, said random flu spikes are more common after big flu seasons like we had last year.

“Influenza can hit any time. For example, the H1N1 that was so bad several years ago, that started in August and September,” Dr. Wallace said.

The problem is when the flu hits in the offseason, you can’t count on strong protection from the vaccine you got last fall, Dr. Wallace said.

“People who get a flu shot in the fall still have some protection in the spring and summer, but it definitely wears off as time goes on,” he said.

Flu strains also change from season to season, and the strain you get this summer might not be covered in last fall’s vaccine.

The bottom line? If you have a fever, headache, respiratory issues and body aches, it really could be the flu. So head to the doctor, because as Will Goodson now says, “better safe than sorry.”

Because the flu is an airborne virus and can be extremely contagious, doctors encourage people to wash their hands and make sure that the flu doesn’t enter their homes this summer. Doctors also encourage people to avoid those who have been sick lately, and choose a fist bump over a handshake.

Dr. Wallace said even though the flu is going around again, it’s not bad enough to get another vaccine this early. He said to plan on getting it again in early fall, so when the big season hits, you’ll be fully prepared.