Hays County, as well as the rest of Central Texas, is seeing an uptick in the number of positive flu cases when compared to last year. Typically, flu season is not in full swing until January and February, but Flu season has hit early this year. Last year, we had 15 residents that tested positive for Influenza in December, but as of today, December of 2017 has already seen 244 Hays County residents test positive for Influenza. We anticipate even higher numbers in January and February of 2018.
The Hays County Local Health Department wants to remind everyone that it is not too late to get a flu shot. Despite what you hear or read in some media sources, this year’s flu shot will be more than 10 percent effective, and getting the flu shot will not give you the flu since it is a dead strain of the virus you are receiving. The vaccine is not 100% effective, but then again it never is. A person may still get the flu despite getting a flu shot, but the vaccine will help the body fight the disease, allowing the symptoms to be less severe and the person to get over the flu much more quickly.
Additional steps people can take to prevent catching the flu are:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home from school or work if you are feeling sick.
The majority of people who get the flu will be sick with a fever, cough, and body aches for a couple of days and will get better. However, for children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems, the flu can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly.
The cold weather tends to drive everyone indoors this time of year, making winter the prime season for flu outbreaks. Let’s work together as a community to help prevent flu outbreaks this season.
Hays County Local Health Department