DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s still swimsuit season in North Texas but, the flu bug doesn’t care. Doctors are urging those in high risk categories (and even those that aren’t) to get vaccinated now.
In fact, several cases of the flu were confirmed in Dallas this weekend.
“Oh, it’s here,” says Robert Simonson, M.D., Medical Director at Methodist Dallas. “It’s here. Whether it’s 90 degrees out or 60, it’s here.”
Some medical experts have noted an increase in flu cases in Australia as a warning that the upcoming season could be especially bad, here.
“We don’t know when it’s going to stick its nasty head up and really hit,” says Dr. Simonson. “Most of us discuss around the holidays when people get together and the one guy sitting at the turkey table has the flu and gives it to everyone else. So we advise just don’t play the odds. Get it and get it now. If you get the flu one time, you’ll get the flu shot from then on.”
Shelley Olliver of Dallas definitely agrees. “A lot of pain, can’t sit up, can’t lay down!” She says she had her own bad brush with the flu some years ago– so now she doesn’t wait for the temperature to drop to get her vaccine.
“Why wait for a problem when you can prevent the problem?” she asked while getting her flu shot at the Dallas County Health and Human Services building today, and she brought her granddaughter along for her vaccine as well. “I will never have that problem again.”
Dallas County health officials are so focused on prevention that eligible individuals can get flu shots now for free. “The best thing is always: flu vaccine, cover coughs, hand washing,” says Tammara Scroggins, R.N.
Medical experts also say children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with underlying medical conditions should be especially wary. It’s why Wanda Howell says she gets her flu shot in August.
“My medication makes me more vulnerable to infection, so any steps I can take to eliminate problems is great, says Howell.
And while doctors say most people who get the flu will be fine, be careful of too many over the counter medications that mask the symptoms.
“People say, I’m going to sit at home and take Tylenol and aspirin,” says Dr. Simonson, “and we get people coming in with problems with aspirin and Tylenol toxicity. It’s a nuisance for most people but, for some people it can be deadly.”
So if you’re putting off getting that vaccine, this message is for you: “Just don’t play the odds,” says Dr. Simonson. “Get it and get it now. If you get the flu one time, you’ll get the flu shot from then on.”