January 10, 2013
reports of flu widespread across Texas, state health officials urge people to
get a flu shot now and take other steps to protect themselves from the flu and its
like much of the country, saw an early start to the flu season and continues to
experience a high level of flu and flu-like illness,” said DSHS Commissioner
Dr. David Lakey. “The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get a
dose of flu vaccine now. There is plenty of vaccine available.”
season’s vaccine provides protection against three strains of flu. Researchers
with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this year’s
vaccine is well matched with the strains now circulating. While the number of
flu cases in Texas is high, DSHS has no indication that cases have been more
severe than usual this season.
recommends vaccination for everyone six months old and older. It’s especially
important for those in high-risk groups like children, people 65 and older,
pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. People in those
groups are more likely to experience serious or life-threatening complications from
flu such as bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration and
worsening of chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, asthma or
usually start abruptly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore
throat, runny nose and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. There is
an adequate supply of antiviral medications that can help lessen the severity
and duration of the flu when started within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
“I encourage people who have a sudden onset of
fever along with a cough or sore throat to talk to their doctor as soon as they
can about possible treatment,” Lakey said.
In addition to
getting vaccinated, people should remember to protect themselves and others
from flu and other respiratory illnesses by washing their hands frequently,
covering all coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick.
There is more
information on the flu, including a vaccine finder, at TexasFlu.org. People can
also contact their health care provider, local health department or dial 2-1-1
to find out where to get a flu shot.
(News Media Contact: Chris
Van Deusen, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-776-7753)
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