Flu season is starting again, and Denton County Public Health says this year’s flu vaccine has been “updated to better match the viruses expected to be circulating in the United States.”
In addition to better matching the viruses, all vaccines this year will be quadrivalent, meaning they have four strains — two A and two B — according to DCPH.
Dr. Rebecca Butler of Lantana Pediatrics said the biggest myth she hears every day during flu season is that every time someone gets the vaccine, they get the flu. Butler said you don’t get the flu from the vaccine, but it does take two weeks to develop an immunity, and even if you get the vaccine, you are not totally immune to the flu, but it is believed that in such cases, the symptoms are milder.
Flu season typically runs from October to May, with peak activity found December through February, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Butler said her office has already had positive flu cases as early as August this year.
DCPH is encouraging residents to not wait until others around you are sick, or until it is cold outside, to get the vaccine. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. Butler strongly concurs.
“This is one of only a few viruses that we have immunization for,” Butler said. “Complications can be severe in even healthy people.”
Butler urged people who are healthy to think of the sick or elderly loved ones or young children in their family that are more at risk.
“It’s even more important that you’re not bringing it home to them,” Butler said.
To help stop the spread of germs, DCPH recommends washing your hands, covering your cough or sneeze, and seeing your doctor immediately if you experience, fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headaches.
DCPH reported one adult flu death and one pediatric flu death in the 2018-19 season. It was a sharp decrease from the 2017-18 season, when DCPH reported 13 flu-related deaths in the county.
DCPH will host a free flu shot event on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Creekview High School in Carrollton from 8 a.m. to noon. It will be first come, first served, and there will be a limited number of flu shots available.