DSHS urges shots for flu season

October 2, 2013

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is urging residents to get ahead of the game and get vaccinated to be protected during the coming flu season.

The vaccine supply – formulated each year to match the strains of flu researchers expect to be circulating – is plentiful, according to the DSHS.

“We have already seen an increase in flu activity in Texas, and now is the time to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Lisa Cornelius, DSHS infectious diseases medical officer. “A dose of vaccine now will help protect people throughout the flu season. There is no reason to put it off.”

The flu is caused by various influenza viruses, and new versions of the vaccine available this year will protect against four strains. The new vaccine is available as a shot for everyone, and as a nasal spray for those ages 2 to 49 who are healthy and not pregnant. The version of the vaccine that covers three strains is also still available, according to the DSHS.

Flu symptoms can include fever, coughing, sore throat, aches, chills and fatigue. People age 65 or older, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are at greater risk for serious flu complications and even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months old or older be vaccinated against seasonal flu. The CDC also says that children under age 9 getting the vaccine for the first time should get two doses at least four weeks apart.

Contact your health care provider, local health department (817-573-8186) or dial 211 to find out where to get a flu shot. Information on flu and tips for protecting against it can be found online at texasflu.org.

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