Early Season Spike in Flu Cases Prompts Health District to Reiterate Call for Vaccination
GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – An early season spike in confirmed cases of the flu is prompting the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) to reiterate its call for people to get their seasonal vaccination as soon as possible.
Since September of this year, 268 lab-confirmed cases of flu have been reported to GCHD, compared to just 32 cases during the same period last year. Although the flu is not a condition healthcare providers are required to report to their local health department, reported cases are a good indication of the overall trend.
“We’re becoming concerned people are not taking the flu threat as seriously as they should,” said. Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority. “Based on the surge in early season cases, this flu season could be very active.”
People 6-months and older should be vaccinated for the flu. Vaccination is especially important for certain high-risk groups. People 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications or even death if they get the flu.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue.
“If you have a combination of flu symptoms, you need to see your medical provider as soon as possible,” Keiser continued. “A person who has symptoms may not have the flu, but it’s important to know so proper care can occur.”
In addition to vaccination, people should help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by covering all coughs and sneezes, washing their hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and staying at home when sick.
The flu vaccine is available at the GCHD Immunization Clinic located at 9850-B Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. The clinic is walk-in and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with hours extended until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Flu shots are $34 each. Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield, cash, check, debit and credit cards are accepted. Cash prices are available for self-pay. More information is available by calling 409-949-3459.
The vaccine is also available by-appointment to registered patients at the Texas City and Galveston Coastal Health & Wellness clinics. For registration or appointment information, please call 409-938-2234.
“No matter if you get it at one of our clinics, your private physician or a pharmacy, you just need to make sure you actually go and do it,” Keiser continued. “The flu shot is the best protection against the virus. Period.”
While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu outbreaks typically happen as early as October and can last as late as May.