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    Give Flu the Boot for the Holidays

    Contact: Vanassa Joseph, Sr. Public Information Officer; 817-321-5306, cell: 817-401-5967


    Give Flu the Boot for the Holidays


    (Tarrant County, Texas) . Based on Tarrant County Public Health's tracking, flu has arrived earlier this season than it did last year. The key indicators are laboratory confirmed cases of flu in our community and increased numbers of people visiting their doctor with influenza-like symptoms of a fever above or equal to 100ø F , accompanied by a cough or a sore throat.


    "The holidays are here, and getting vaccinated against the flu is especially important before traveling or gathering with friends and family during this season," said Lou Brewer, director of Tarrant County Public Health.


    The week of Thanksgiving, Tarrant County saw an increase in reported influenza-like illness (ILI) above what is usually seen, and the percentage of doctor visits for ILI exceeded the Tarrant County baseline four weeks earlier than usual.


    It is important to note that regardless of how a flu season is characterized, mild, severe, early or late, flu can take a toll on individuals.


    Getting a flu shot now means that people will be fully protected for the upcoming holiday season. It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to become fully effective. So far, it appears that the vaccine is well matched to the circulating flu strains, which makes a flu shot the best protection against getting the flu. Flu strains change every year, and an annual flu shot provides immunity throughout the flu season.


    Staying flu-free helps others, too, because the more people who are vaccinated against the flu, the less chance it will spread through our community, especially to babies younger than 6 months who are too young to be vaccinated, children and adults with chronic medical conditions and the elderly.


    The public can join Tarrant County Public Health in supporting year-round good health and National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 2-8) by getting vaccinated now. There are multiple places in our community to get vaccinated. Tarrant County Public Health Centers offer the flu shot for $20 per person. Medicaid and Medicare Part B are accepted.


    Besides getting a flu shot, other prevention measures also help give flu the boot and protect people against other viruses:


    Keep your hands clean. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

    Cover your cough and your sneeze. Use a tissue or cover your mouth with your sleeve when you sneeze or cough. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

    Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

    Avoid close contact. Especially with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

    Stay at home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.


    Call us at 817-321-4700 or visit our Give Flu the Boot! Web page for more information.