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Flu Outbreak Easing At North Texas Middle School With Hundreds Of Absences

IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - A flu outbreak at Coppell Middle School West appears to be slowly subsiding.

According to Coppell ISD, 285 students were out sick on Wednesday. That's fewer than the number reporting flu-like symptoms earlier in the week.

At one point, roughly a quarter of students were home sick. The concern isn't confined to the Coppell Middle School West campus.

Coppell Middle School West
Coppell Middle School West (CBS 11)

"Pretty concerned," says Claudia Argumaniz, whose sons attend school in Keller. "I have two boys and I always worry about them catching anything."

With what appears to be a virulent strain spreading fast in the area, Coppell parents like Dan Engelhardt say, "It's gonna happen at some point, yes, someone is gonna be sick."

So Engelhardt says his family practices prevention: and that includes a healthy lifestyle and flu shots, because, yes, germs are everywhere!

"Cell phones, desks, door knobs, everywhere." says James Pinckney, MD, CEO and founder of Diamond Physicians. "It's very important to also wash your hands, keep them out of your face."

Dr. Pinckney says he follows those same simple rules to keep his own family well: and he encourages others to do the same.

"As a clinician when I get home, I take off my top layer and wash my hands. I have a 19-month-old at home. I don't pick up the baby until I wash my hands."

He says it is not too late to get the flu vaccine, stressing a shot won't guarantee you won't get sick, but should lessen the severity if you do. And he says it could just save your life.

"Ninety percent of the individuals who died from the flu last year were not vaccinated," says Dr. Pinckney.

Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from the flu. So the bottom line message is, don't underestimate the risk.

"So far so good," says Engelhardt. "Nobody's been sick yet with the flu, so we're crossing our fingers."

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