Protect Yourself from Flu this Holiday Season

Dec. 3, 2013

If you haven’t received your flu vaccination yet, it’s not too late. Texas physicians say getting vaccinated against the flu is the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu during the holiday season and winter months.

Flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is much more severe than a common cold. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Every year about 200,000 people in the nation are hospitalized from flu-related illness.

“Vaccines are one of the safest and most reliable ways to guard yourself and others from infection,” said John T. Carlo, MD, MS, chair of Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health. “When more people get vaccinated, we’re all better protected.”

An annual flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age and older. On average, one out of five Texans gets influenza each year. Influenza can be especially harmful to older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions.

“Some people cannot get vaccinated because of certain medical conditions, which make them more vulnerable to catching the flu,” said Dr. Carlo. “So it’s important for those around them to be vaccinated.”

National Influenza Vaccination Week is right around the corner, Dec. 8-14. It’s the perfect time to get a flu vaccination to avoid spreading the disease to family and friends during the holidays.

This year, several different types of influenza vaccines are available, including a high-dose vaccine for senior citizens and a non-injection, nasal spray vaccine for healthy people ages 2 through 49 years who are not pregnant. Talk to your doctor about which vaccine is right for you.

Once you get vaccinated, your body works to build immunity, a process that can take up to two weeks. Sometimes you might have a mild reaction to the vaccination, such as a sore arm or achy feeling for a day or two after your vaccination. But whatever discomfort you may feel is minimal compared to the severity of the actual virus. 

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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Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
 

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
  

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