As Central Texans commence their holiday travel, Seton Healthcare Family physicians are treating a higher than normal volume of influenza patients, about a month earlier than typical trends. According to the Centers of Disease Control, the level of influenza-like illness is currently listed as "high" in Texas. Click here for a real-time map to view influenza-like activity levels.
Last week, five patients with life-threatening
complications from the flu were being treated at Seton Medical
Center Austin with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO),
a heart-lung machine similar to the device used in open
surgery. It provides respiratory or cardiac support ─ and sometimes both ─ to patients afflicted with complex medical conditions whose lungs and hearts are so severely diseased or damaged that they cannot function adequately.
Cynthia Short, a former ECMO patient, shared her story at a press conference Monday, Dec. 23. Four years ago, Short suffered life-threatening complications from H1N1 flu while she was nine months pregnant. With her daughter Savannah by her side, Short and physicians urged Central Texans to get their flu shots. Doctors say complications from the flu can be life-threatening for vulnerable populations, including children under five years of age (especially those younger than two), adults 65 and older, pregnant women, those with asthma and people with heart disease.