Health Officials Urge Texans to Get a Flu Shot Now
 

AUSTIN October 1, 2018 - As flu season begins, the Texas Department of State Health Services encourages everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated now to protect themselves from getting the flu. Early vaccination is important because it takes about two weeks for the body to make flu antibodies after the vaccine is administered.

“This year, there are many different flu vaccines available, and they have all been updated for this flu season. The nasal spray flu vaccine, also known as FluMist, is once again on the list of recommended flu vaccines for the upcoming flu season,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer. “There are also special flu vaccines designed for people 65 years and older. Your doctor can help you figure out which vaccine is right for you.”

People with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, older adults, and the people who live with them should get vaccinated in order to minimize the risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Caregivers should get the flu shot to protect themselves and to prevent spreading the flu to the vulnerable people they care for in their families and communities.

Influenza is an illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. Symptoms usually start suddenly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. It is important to note that not all flu sufferers will have a fever.

People can help stop the spread of illness and reduce their chance of catching the flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick. Additional flu information and tips are at TexasFlu.org.

All flu vaccines this season are made to protect against viruses similar to the strains A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1), A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2) and B/Colorado/06/2017 (B/Victoria lineage). Some vaccines include an additional vaccine virus strain, B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage).

People can contact their health care provider, local health department, local pharmacy or use the Vaccine Finder at TexasFlu.org to find out where flu shots are available.

Health officials encourage people to seek treatment promptly if they are experiencing flu symptoms. Antiviral drugs may help shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

 
 
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