Fall weather is on its way and it is not too early to start thinking about cold and flu season.
The best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated. Health officials urge everyone to make plans now to get a flu shot for yourself and your family members.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus and is spread by coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. It can cause serious illness. Every year, thousands of people go to the hospital with the flu. The vaccine will not cause you to get the flu. If you do get the flu after vaccination you can expect to have a milder case.
“Flu season runs from October to May. It is best to get the vaccine early in the season to give the body a chance to build up the immunity that will provide protection from the flu. Get vaccinated as soon as possible. It will keep you and your children well,” said Daurice Ring, a family nurse practitioner at the JPS School-Based Health Center in White Settlement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age six months and older get a flu vaccine every year. Flu and flu-like symptoms tend to be more severe for people with existing or chronic health problems (such as heart disease and diabetes), the elderly and children younger than age five. So it is especially important for these people to get their flu shots every year.
Infants are at high risk for serious complications from the flu. The best protection for infants younger than six months is for adults and older children in who live in the home to get their flu shots.
Flu shots and nasal spray are already available at many area pharmacies. Tarrant County Public Health expects to offer flu shots at its area public health centers starting in mid- to late September. Watch their website for updates.
JPS Health Network will offer flu shots starting in early October at our community health centers and school-based health centers (for students and their brothers and sisters from birth to age 22). Talk to your healthcare provider about getting the vaccination for your family.
Ways to combat flu
· Avoid contact with people who are sick.
· Keep your hands clean; wash them with soap often.
· Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
· If you are sick, stay home and rest so you don’t make others sick.
Visit http://www.flu.gov/ for more details on prevention and vaccination, symptoms and treatment and people at risk.
Sources: Tarrant County Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services