The Texas Department of State Health Services encourages people to protect themselves and their loved ones this holiday season by getting a flu shot now. With flu-like illness on the rise, it’s not too late for everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated. People can find out where flu shots are available at texasflu.org or by contacting their health care provider.
“Getting the flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do right now to help protect yourself from influenza,” according to Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against flu. Vaccination is especially important for older adults, infants, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions because they are at greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu.
Influenza is a contagious disease caused by one of a number of related viruses. Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue. The onset of symptoms is sudden and people should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care. People experiencing symptoms are encouraged to seek treatment promptly. Antiviral drugs may shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
People can help stop the spread of flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when they’re sick.