It was hard not to notice all the flu shot advertising that popped up across our county in August and the media messaging that followed the next month. Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) even kicked off September with our annual Stop the Flu campaign press conference. Once again, our good Fort Worth friend, Mayor Betsy Price, rolled up her sleeve alongside us to help spread the word.
So what can our community expect next?
October is traditionally the beginning of the flu season. TCPH expects to see a slight rise in influenza-like illness cases through our weekly flu reports. Doctors will begin reminding patients it’s the best time of the year to receive a flu shot, and TCPH agrees.
You see, it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to take full effect. The majority of cases in Texas traditionally occur in January and February, so receiving a flu shot in October helps assure you have enough time to develop immunity, and that your body is well-prepared during the peak months ahead.
The good news is there are numerous places to get vaccine. Fortunately, people can easily get flu shots at many local pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as public health centers in Tarrant County.
So what else can you do to stay healthy? I know of several smart habits that my family follows. For starters, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available, your sleeve is another option to help prevent those around you from getting sick. To protect yourself from germs and to reduce their spread, be sure to wash your hands often. If you or someone around you is sick, stay home so those at work and school don’t get sick too. Eat a healthy diet and get lots of good sleep. The extra energy will keep you going when others might be down.
So, get a flu shot wherever you can get it, and do it now, before the season ramps up. It’s your best protection.
Veerinder (Vinny) Taneja
Tarrant County Public Health Director
County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111
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