Jan. 9, 2014
AUSTIN – Texas First Lady Anita Perry and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, M.D., have teamed up for a public service announcement reminding Texans that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
The level of flu-like illness is currently classified as high in Texas, and medical providers are seeing an increase in flu in multiple parts of the state. H1N1 is the most common flu strain so far this season, and this year’s flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1.
The PSA can be viewed at www.TexasFlu.org.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu can go a long way in preventing Texans from getting, and spreading, the disease,” First Lady Anita Perry said. “As a nurse, I know how safe and effective the flu vaccine is, and how easy it is to get. I’m urging all Texans to protect themselves and their fellow Texans from this potentially deadly disease by getting vaccinated.”
Health officials warn that many more people are likely to get sick before flu season comes to an end, typically in May, with a peak in January or February. It’s unclear whether flu season has peaked in Texas.
The Texas Association of Broadcasters is distributing the public service announcement to television and radio stations across the state. The Texas Cable Association also is assisting with PSA distribution.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends everyone six months old and older get vaccinated. People should talk to their health care provider about the best type of flu vaccine for them. A nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant, and a high-dose vaccine is approved for people 65 and older.
“People need to remember that the flu can be serious and even fatal,” Janek said. “Protect yourself and your family by getting a flu shot. If you do get sick, stay home so that we stop the spread of the disease as quickly as possible.”
Flu is a serious disease that kills an average of 23,600 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People over 65, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk for complications, so it’s especially important for them to be vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the spread of the flu. Additionally, cover all coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick and wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
For more information and vaccination locations, go to www.TexasFlu.org.
(DSHS Media Contact: Carrie Williams, 512-776-7119)