Do Not Delay, Get Your Flu Shot Before Flu Season Strikes

AUSTIN, September 28, 2016 – With flu season just around the corner, health officials at the Texas Department of State Health Services urge everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated to protect themselves from getting the flu.

“I’m asking people to get immunized now because it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to become fully effective,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. “Getting the flu shot every year offers the best protection against getting sick with the flu.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone at least 6 months old to get vaccinated against seasonal flu. Flu vaccination is particularly important for pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions, because people in those groups are at a greater risk of severe complications if they do get the flu.

Influenza is an illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. Symptoms usually start abruptly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer.

Take precautions to reduce your chance of getting the flu this season by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you’re sick. Flu information and tips for protecting against the flu are at TexasFlu.org.

All flu vaccines this season are made to protect against viruses similar to the strains A/California/7/2009 (H1N1), A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) and B/Brisbane/60/2008 (Victoria lineage). Some vaccines include an additional vaccine virus strain, B/Phuket/3073/2013.

This flu season the CDC does not recommend the use of the live attenuated influenza vaccine, commonly called the “nasal spray” vaccine and sold under the trade name FluMist. Research during the last flu season measured no protective benefit.

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

Health officials encourage people to seek treatment if experiencing flu symptoms. If started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, antivirals may help shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu.

 
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