DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Denton County Public Health is reporting the first and second influenza-associated deaths in Denton County for the 2017-2018 flu season.

One of the flu death cases was a child. For patient confidentiality, no other information was released.

“Our surveillance has indicated increased flu activity in recent weeks, and we anticipate high activity for the next several weeks,” says Juan Rodriguez, DCPH Assistant Director and Chief Epidemiologist. “It is important for residents to be proactive in practicing prevention through receiving the flu vaccine and taking action to prevent the spread of disease.”

DCPH recommends a three-pronged approach to fighting the flu:

1. Get vaccinated. The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get an annual flu shot, and the flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

2. Remember that antiviral medications are a second-line defense against the flu. If you are experiencing fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headaches, visit your doctor immediately, and take antivirals if prescribed. These remedies can help you recover quicker, and can potentially prevent you from being hospitalized with flu complications.

3. Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. Cover your cough and sneeze, avoid people experiencing flu symptoms, stay home when you feel sick and wash your hands often. These steps will help prevent respiratory viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus.

All unvaccinated residents over six months old are strongly encouraged to be immunized for the flu.

“We want to remind residents that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health. “Getting vaccinated today will help protect families throughout the remainder of the season.”

DCPH reminds residents that getting vaccinated is a community effort that not only protects yourself, but also those at highest risk for flu complications, including:

• Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
• Children younger than five
• Adults 65 years of age and older
• People living in long-term care facilities
• American Indians and Alaskan Natives
• People with chronic health conditions

Search here to find the vaccine in your neighborhood.

DCPH clinics offer low-cost flu vaccines to those who qualify.

For questions pertaining to DCPH flu vaccination qualifications, contact DCPH at 940-349-2900 or via email at PublicHealth@dentoncounty.com.

Click here for the latest information on flu in Texas, and here for details about symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

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