Thursday, January 10, 2013

State Warns Flu Spreading Across Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) warned today in a news release that flu season is picking up steam across Texas.

“Texas, 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 David Lakey, MD, in a DSHS release today. “The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get a dose of flu vaccine now. There is plenty of vaccine available.”

Physicians say it’s not too late to get vaccinated and protect yourself and your loved ones from this potentially deadly disease. “The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself and those around you from the flu,” said Jason Terk, MD, Keller pediatrician and chair of TMA’s Council on Science and Public Health.

Getting vaccinated for the flu is just as effective whether you got the shot in October or you get the shot now in January, though it takes about two weeks for the body to develop resistance to the flu after vaccination. One shot protects an individual for the entire flu season, which runs from October through May.

“Everyone ages 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu,” says Dr. Terk. Vaccination is even more important for older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease because all of these groups are at greater risk for serious complications if they get sick from the flu.

“In addition to getting vaccinated,” added the DSHS, “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.

“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,” Dr. Lakey said.

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