Sept. 27, 2013
“Influenza Awareness Day” Prompts Reminder
begins, flu season follows close behind. Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians
urge Texans to get vaccinated now against this potentially serious, even fatal
vaccine is the best defense against getting the flu,” says John Carlo, MD,
chair of TMA’s Council on Science and Public Health. “It’s a safe and effective
way to protect yourself and those around you.”
can begin as early as October and last through May. To emphasize the flu’s
dangers, the Texas Legislature declared Oct. 1 as Influenza Awareness Day, in a
bill (HB 1204) sponsored last session by Rep. Tan Parker (R-Denton).
Doctors say everyone
6 months of age and older should get a vaccination every year to protect
themselves from the flu. Dr. Carlo, a public health and preventive medicine
specialist, says now is the time to get the shot for protection throughout the
entire flu season.
year: an additional flu vaccination option. Talk with your doctor about which
option is best for you.
flu shot, which protects against three different flu viruses, two influenza
A viruses and one influenza B virus (called “trivalent” vaccines). Various versions of this vaccine, including
one for people allergic to eggs, are available for children 6 months of age
vaccine uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot for injection
into the skin instead of the muscle. It is appropriate for people ages 18 to
trivalent shot, called Fluzone, is approved for people 65 years and older
to give extra protection against the flu.
A new quadrivalent
vaccine protects against two influenza A and two influenza B viruses. It is
available in the standard flu shot or as a nasal spray. The nasal spray vaccine
is available for healthy people who are not pregnant, ages 2 to 49.
Flu shots are
important because each year, as many as one in five Texans of all ages get sick
from the flu. About 200,000 people are hospitalized
each year as a result, some with complications like pneumonia. Some patients — as many as thousands per year — even die.
should get a flu vaccination, but it’s really important that certain higher-risk
people get vaccinated,” said Dr. Carlo. Elderly people, young children, and
pregnant women are at greater risk for serious complications if they get sick
from the flu. People who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma and
heart disease, are higher-risk, too.
A bonus for pregnant
women who get vaccinated: The vaccine protects not only the mother but also her
unborn baby — even after the baby is born, up to 6 months of age.
Physicians say besides getting the flu shot, take simple
precautions to help prevent you from getting sick: Cover your mouth with a
tissue or your elbow when you sneeze; wash your hands often; stay away from
people who are sick; and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
To learn where flu shots are available and other flu
information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website,
or visit www.flu.gov.
TMA actively works to improve immunization rates in Texas through its Be Wise — ImmunizeSM
program. Be Wise works with local communities to give free and low-cost shots
to Texans, and educate people about the importance of vaccination. More than
240,000 shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults
through the Be Wise program since 2004.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Jan. 9, 2013
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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