TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM THE FLU
While October brought our first sights of Fall and cooler weather it also brought about what we traditionally know as “flu season”. It is important that we all take the necessary steps to protect our families, particularly our children and those at higher risk, from the spread of flu. Taking precautionary steps can play an important role in preventing an individual from catching the flu.
Many will remember that last season H1N1 represented the first influenza outbreak in over 40 years. With this said, doctors are not expecting an occurrence like we saw last year, but they are still encouraging individuals to receive flu shots, especially those who are at a higher risk like young children and the elderly.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) encourages everyone over 6 months old to get a seasonal flu shot as soon as possible. “There’s no reason to wait. The supply is here,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “We usually see an increase in flu cases in late October or early November. It takes the vaccine about two weeks to become effective, so get vaccinated now to protect yourself and your family.” Lakey said this year’s seasonal vaccine also protects against H1N1 flu. A nasal spray vaccine is an option for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant.
The flu is caused by various influenza viruses. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, achy muscles, chills, extreme tiredness or stomach symptoms. Most healthy people recover without problems, but people over 65, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications and even death. It is especially important for people in those high-risk groups to be vaccinated.
If you find yourself having any of the common flu like symptoms it is best to get to a doctor within 48 hours. If a patient is able to visit the doctor within the 48 hour window, antiviral drugs are considered more effective in shortening the course of the infection.
Practicing healthy habits such as washing hands and covering coughs is hugely important, but so is taking the extra step to vaccinate yourself and your family members. Those seeking the seasonal flu vaccine should call their health care provider, local public health department, 2-1-1 or check online at www.211Texas.org for availability. For more information about the flu in Texas, visit DSHS’ www.TexasFlu.org. If you need information on where to find the vaccine clinic nearest you, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol and District Offices (Capitol: 512-463-0672; District: 361-949-4603).
Some of the Texas House of Representatives Committee hearings scheduled for October are as follows: The House Committee on Redistricting and the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Subcommittees will be meeting in Beaumont, Texas on October 18th in order to hear public testimony on redistricting. The two sub-committees will then meet again on October 20th in Marshall, Texas to hear public testimony as well as on October 27th in Abilene, Texas. Additional information on upcoming committee meetings can be found at https://www.house.state.tx.us.
If you have any questions regarding any of the information provided in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact either my Capitol or District office. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603)