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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Flu season will officially begin Monday, and although the illness usually hits heavy in the winter months, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control are urging people to get vaccinated now to better protect themselves for this flu season.
“CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community,” CDC officials advised, noting influenza seasons are unpredictable, beginning as early as October.
Officials with the department of state health services noted that this year’s flu season vaccine supply is plentiful.
“People need to get vaccinated each year because the vaccine is made to match the types of flu expected to circulate that year and because protection decreases over time,” officials informed.
According to the CDC, manufacturers have projected that they will produce between 146 million and 149 million doses of flu vaccine for the 2012-2013 season. During last season, 132.8 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed in the United States.
“Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season,” according to the CDC’s website.
The website noted that three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses.
“Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine,” the website said.
In addition to getting vaccinated, Ms. Hudson urges individuals to wash their hands frequently to reduce chances of getting or spreading the flu.
State health services officials also encourage people to cover their coughs and sneezes, stay home if they are sick and have a plan in place to take care of sick family members at home.
Health officials say people who are at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people ages 65 and older.
“Children younger than six months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead,” the state health services department advised.
More information a can be found at Texasflu.org.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)