Flu season 2018-2019 is here. Texas health officials advise infants and people 6 months and older to get vaccinated against the flu. The annual flu season starts in October and runs mostly through the winter months into next year.
If you don’t have a regular doctor, grocery store pharmacies, local health departments, urgent care clinics, employers, schools, college and university health centers, Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens have flu vaccinations, health screenings and other immunizations.
For Texas flu vaccination locations, visit http://www.texasflu.org.
As of October 5, 2018, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported flu activity remains low across the state of Texas. There were no influenza-associated pediatric deaths and no influenza-associated outbreaks were reported during week 39 of flu season 2017-2018.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The CDC recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older to protect yourself and others as the first step.
Health officials say the flu is a respiratory illness that can be mild or serious enough to lead to hospitalization or death.
The CDC says people at high risk of getting flu-related complications are:
- Children under 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- American Indians and Alaskans
- People with medical conditions ( diabetes, asthma, heart disease, kidney, liver disorders and other conditions).
The CDC says flu activity starts to increase in October and November and peaks between December and February. The flu season can last as late as May 2019, according to the CDC.
“Getting vaccinated before flu activity begins helps protect you once flu season starts in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune response to fully respond and for you to be protected, so make plans to get vaccinated,” the CDC said.
The CDC recommends flu vaccinations as long as influenza viruses are around.
“Children aged 6 months through 8 years old who need two doses of vaccine should get the first dose as soon after vaccine is available to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart,” the CDC said.
After getting a flu shot, the CDC also recommends staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs.
“If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness,” the CDC said.
For the 2018-2019 season, private manufacturers estimate between 163 million and 168 million doses of the flu shot will be available for the United States market, according to the CDC.
For more information on this season’s flu vaccine:
Visit the CDC’s HealthMap Vaccine Finder.