Flu-ridden Houstonians insist on going to work - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Flu-ridden Houstonians insist on going to work

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Influenza has reached epidemic levels in five states, including Texas.

Doctors say that could indicate a bad season.  Already, Dr. Carol Baker, director of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine said she has treated two patients for influenza.

One patient died.

"The last time we had this early of a start was 2003 to 2004.  The media was all over the number of children who died during that season," said Dr. Baker.

Once the flu virus enters the body, there is a three to five day incubation period.  Health officials say it is contagious and moves through the body quickly.

"I had it for probably two, almost 3 weeks," Rusty Brown, a construction worker in Downtown Houston, said.

Brown has gone to work every single, flu-ridden day.  That's not what the doctor ordered, but he said there was no other option.

"I'm not gonna skip a day cuz I need the money to pay for probation and stuff like that so that's what I had to do," he said.

Turns out, that is exactly what many others feel.

"Personally, I need the hours that I have so if I can make it through the day, then I'm going in," Kevin Norris, a forklift operator, said.

Norris admits having "sick days" but rarely uses them.

Dr. Baker said working while fighting the flu is never a good idea.  Your mouth, hands, keyboard and cell phone are all places where germs accumulate.

Since the virus strands vary, it is best to get the flu shot.  Already, the Center for Disease Control reports 37 percent of people have already been vaccinated.  Health officials are hoping that number will increase in order to prevent the spread of influenza.

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