Flu season starting in earnest

Health Department reports first flu-related death of the season in El Paso

As always, a flu shot is the best way to ward off a debilitating and potentially deadly bout of the illness, but media reports claiming that this year's vaccine is only 10 percent effective may have prompted some to avoid the flu shot altogether.

The traditional flu season lasts from October through May.

Officials say flu activity began earlier this season than usual.

The adult flu vaccine is available at the Dallas County immunization clinic located at 2377 N. Stemmons Fwy and the children's vaccine is available at all Dallas County Health and Human Services immunization clinics. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to fully develop protection against the flu, officials said.

"The influenza vaccine protects against multiple strains of flu", said Stacey Anderson, who works for the DPHHS Communicable Disease Epidemiology section. In addition, they say medical staff can wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub - and keep all surfaces clean and disinfected. No. 1 on the list is to get a flu shot.

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Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, he said the vaccine has a very safe record.

The flu can be spread from person to person when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk. Wu said the flu season in CT could extend into April.

People six months of age and up are recommended to get a flu shot.

Symptoms of influenza can include a fever of more than 38 C (100.4 F), dry cough, chills, headache, muscle ache, loss of appetite, sore throat and runny nose, and in younger children, nausea and vomiting. "This is a tragic reminder that the flu still kills", said county public health official Cameron Kaiser, MD, in a statement. "So if you're traveling to another part of the USA where there's a flu outbreak, the close proximity to people will contribute to the virus being transmitted". For starters, if you are sick, if at all possible, stay home.

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