Thursday, October 3, 2013
Health officials stress getting flu vaccine before peak season
Flu cases spike between November and January.
As mums and pumpkins start popping up on front porches and football games start packing stands, there’s something in the air that may be a little more sinister. The flu season is right around the corner and health officials are advising folks to get a flu shot to stay ahead of the epidemic.
Cathy Grayson, infection prevention manager at Texas Health Network, said most people can infect others with the flu one day prior to developing any flu signs or symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, and extreme tiredness.
“The flu shot is your best bet to avoid getting the flu,” Grayson said, “By getting a flu shot you are not only protecting yourself but you are protecting those around you because we can have the flu virus and spread that virus before we have any symptoms. We especially want to protect those around us that are at risk for getting very sick from the flu.”
Grayson said those most at risk include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system.
Christie Hix, Collin County immunization program manager, said now is the time to get vaccinated.
“We recommend that people start getting their flu shots now,” she said. “Flu season usually peaks November through January and the flu shots are available now. It is better to protect yourself now than not get any protection.”
The Collin County Health Department is offering flu shots for $20 for adults – children’s prices depend on insurance – at its McKinney office, located at 825 N. MacDonald St., Suite 130. The office is open from 7:30-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Flu seasons are unpredictable, Grayson said adding that the timing, severity, and length of flu season varies from one year to another. This year, expected strains include an H1N1-like virus and an H3N2 virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus.
“The flu viruses are constantly changing and adapting so it would not be unusual for new flu virus strains to appear,” she said. “Traditional flu vaccines are made to protect against three different flu viruses called 'trivalent' vaccines. This year, they also made a quadrivalent vaccine, designed to protect against four different flu viruses.”
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News