Denton County Public Health (DCPH) is encouraging community members to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves and others before the end of October.
While the severity of the flu season in Denton County can be unpredictable, seasonal flu activity begins to increase in the fall and tends to peak between December through February.
Early vaccination can help lower the possibility of illness now and into the colder holiday season where transmission may be easier. Don’t wait to vaccinate; protect yourself and those you love today.
“We know it’s still warm outside and Denton County residents might not be thinking about influenza quite yet,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Denton County Public Health. “However, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be fully effective and we want as many residents as possible protected. Getting the flu vaccine remains the best protection from the flu and its potentially serious complications.”
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 flucomplications.
* 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 vaccination is a community effort that not only protects yourself, but also family, friends and those around you. 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 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
Weekly Denton County flu surveillance reports will begin this month and additional information can be found at dentoncounty.com/flu.