Physicians say the flu shot is just as effective whether you got it in October or you get it now in January, though it takes about two weeks for vaccine to help someone develop resistance to the flu. One shot protects an individual for the entire flu season, which runs from October through May.
“Everyone who is 6 months of age or older should get a vaccination against the flu every year,” said Dr. Terk. “Children, especially those under the age of 2 years, as well as the elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions are at increased risk for complications from flu — so much so, they could die.”
For those who develop mild flu-like symptoms, physicians say stay home to prevent spreading the illness to others, and drink plenty of fluids. Contact your doctor if you have severe symptoms or if you are sick and are in one of the high-risk groups. There are medications to treat the flu, and the CDC recommends the use of antiviral medications to treat influenza, starting as early as possible after becoming sick.
But doctors urge Texans to take precautions to avoid getting sick in the first place: Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze; wash your hands often; stay away from people who are sick; and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. But the flu shot might be the best defense.
Lamb said PPGH has a limited supply of flu shots and to call the hospital's Family Health Clinic first at (940) 325-7891 to check on availability.