Health Workers: North Texans Should Get Their Flu Vaccinations Early

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It may not feel like it but flu season is already underway.

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) Director Zack Thompson says flu season can run for up to nine months and his department just received this year’s allocation of flu vaccine.

“We got it in last week, but of course the weather… often times people don’t think about the flu vaccine when the weather is as warms as it is.”

With North Texas temperatures lipping near 100-degrees and fall still a few days away, its hard for some to think about an illness that many associate with cold weather.  “We’re in the flu season,” Thompson stressed. “Technically, as soon as you get the flu vaccine you are to start administering the flu vaccine to residents, but the flu season can start as early as September and go all the way ‘til May of next year.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone, except children younger than 6 months of age, get the flu vaccine. Ultimately, Thompson said it can be a matter of life and death. “We’re encouraging Dallas County residents and North Texas residents to either come to Dallas County Health and Human Services or local pharmacies to get their flu shot. Last year we had 19 flu-related deaths in Dallas County and the best prevention is of course the flu vaccine.”

No one wants it to come down to a matter of supply and demand, because the later it gets in the flu season the more likely area agencies are to have a limited supply of medicine. Thompson suggests North Texans head out to get their flu shot early. “Right now is the best time…we’re offering flu vaccines for adults and children. The flu vaccine is available and there’s no shortage.”

Thompson said another reason to get the shot now is because the body takes about two weeks for the body to develop the antibodies needed to provide protection.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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