Flu shots urged by Milam Health officials

CAMERON—With an outbreak of flu roaring across the nation, Milam County Health Department officials are urging resident to get flu shots.

Shots are available at the Rockdale office, in the One-Stop Center (Bell at Main) Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12-noon and 1 to 4 p.m. and at the Cameron office (209 South Houston) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, open till 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.

Patsy Gaines, director, said shots are free for Medicare Part B recipients and are $20 for others.

Each season’s vaccine provides protection against three strains of flu. Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this year’s vaccine is well matched with the strains now circulating. While the number of flu cases in Texas is high, DSHS has no indication that cases have been more severe than usual this season.

DSHS recommends vaccination for everyone six months old and older. It’s especially important for those in high-risk groups like children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. People in those groups are more likely to experience serious or life-threatening complications from flu such as bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

Flu symptoms usually start abruptly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. There is an adequate supply of antiviral medications that can help lessen the severity and duration of the flu when started within 48 hours after symptoms appear.

“Texas saw an early start to the flu season and continues to experience a high level of flu and flu-like illness,” Dr. David Lakey said. “The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get a dose of flu vaccine now. There is plenty of vaccine available.”

“I encourage people who have a sudden onset of fever along with a cough or sore throat to talk to their doctor as soon as they can about possible treatment,” Lakey said.

In addition to getting vaccinated, people should remember to protect themselves and others from flu and other respiratory illnesses by washing their hands frequently, covering all coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick, Dr. Lakey said.

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2013-01-17 digital edition

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