National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) takes place December 3rd – 9th this year, and Denton County Public Health (DCPH) wants to remind you that it is not too late to get your flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be fully effective, so plan ahead and get your flu shot today.
“This is the time of year when we talk about influenza and how dangerous it can be,” says Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH Director. “Because flu is ‘seasonal’ and we discuss it every year, it’s easy to forget the impact. Flu, along with pneumonia diagnosis, is the eighth leading cause of death in the US, and we have a vaccine to prevent it.” Vaccination prior to your family’s holiday gatherings can help protect you and your loved ones from the flu.
DCPH recommends a three-pronged approach to fighting the flu:
1. Get vaccinated. The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get an annual flu shot, and the flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
2. Remember that antiviral medications are a second-line defense against the flu. If you are experiencing fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headaches, visit your doctor immediately, and take antivirals if prescribed. These remedies can help you recover quicker, and can potentially prevent you from being hospitalized with flu complications.
3. Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. Cover your cough and sneeze, avoid people experiencing flu symptoms, stay home when you feel sick and wash your hands often. These steps will help prevent respiratory viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus.
DCPH reminds residents that getting vaccinated is a community effort that not only protects yourself but also family, friends and those around you. Vaccinating also helps safeguard those who are at highest risk of complications or death from the flu, including these groups:
- Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
- Children younger than five
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- People living in long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- People with chronic health conditions such as asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune system due to disease or medication, kidney and liver disorders, and people with extreme obesity
Search vaccinefinder.org to find the vaccine in your neighborhood. DCPH clinics offer low-cost flu vaccines to those who qualify (details listed below). Visit www.texasflu.org for the latest information on flu in Texas, and www.cdc.gov/flu for details about symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
All information provided by Denton County Public Health