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