Denton County Public Health is encouraging residents to get the flu shot as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week.
NIVW serves as an annual reminder that even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine, according to DCPH.
“We hope the elevated number of flu deaths throughout last year’s flu season propels residents to protect themselves this year,” said Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health at DCPH. “We want to remind everyone that getting the flu vaccine is the absolute best way to protect yourself and those you love. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be fully effective, so plan ahead and get your flu shot today.”
DCPH recommends a three-pronged approach to fighting the flu:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 also wants to remind residents that getting vaccinated is a community effort that not only protects yourself, but also family, friends and those around you, according to the department. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccinating also helps safeguard those who are at highest risk of complications or death from the flu, including:
- Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
- Children younger than 5
- 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
Weekly Denton County flu surveillance reports and additional information can be found at www.dentoncounty.com/flu. Visit www.cdc.gov/flu for details about symptoms, treatment, and prevention, and search www.vaccinefinder.org to find the vaccine in your neighborhood.