So far this flu season, 1,017 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported to GCHD, compared to just 138 during the same period last season. Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is offering the vaccine at no-cost, while supplies last.
GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – Growing concern about a significant spike in early-season cases of the flu is prompting the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) to offer the vaccine at no-cost, while supplies last.
So far this flu season, 1,017 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported to GCHD, compared to just 138 during the same period last season. Although the flu is not a condition healthcare providers are required to report to their local health department, reported cases are a good indication of the overall trend.
“We’ve been concerned about this trend for several months and that level of concern ticks up with each new case,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority. “Such a dramatic early season spike could be an indication of a long and nasty flu season yet to come.”
Flu vaccines will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis at the following locations. Priority for the limited supply will be given to people without insurance and those who can not afford the shot.
“We feel it important to offer these vaccination clinics to our community to help address this public health threat,” said Kathy Barroso, GCHD CEO. “Hopefully people who still need to get the seasonal flu vaccination will take advantage of this opportunity, especially those who may have delayed their vaccination due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.”
People 6-months and older should be vaccinated for the flu. Vaccination is especially important for certain high-risk groups. People 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications or even death if they get the flu.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. People with a combination of these symptoms should promptly see their medical provider.
In addition to vaccination, people should help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by covering all coughs and sneezes, washing their hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and staying at home when sick.
“While most people who get the flu will suffer the symptoms for about a week and come out okay on the other end, the virus can be fatal for the very young and old, especially those with compromised immune systems,” Dr. Keiser continued.
While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. Flu outbreaks typically happen as early as October and can last as late as May.
For more information on the flu, symptoms and prevention, visit www.gchdorg/flu.