MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Texas officials call for influenza vaccinations

Health officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services encouraged citizens on Monday to vaccinate against the flu before the season begins.

Flu season is set to begin soon and the health officials asked for everyone above six months of age or older to receive a vaccination to protect themselves and their families from the flu. Nw versions of the vaccine are available this year that will protect against four strains of the virus. The vaccines are available as a shot or as a nasal spray for people between the age of two and 49.

"We have already seen an increase in flu activity in Texas, and now is the time to get vaccinated," Dr. Lisa Cornelius, DSHS' infectious diseases medical officer, said. "A dose of vaccine now will help protect people throughout the flu season. There is no reason to put it off."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone who is over the age of six months receive a vaccination against the seasonal flu. Children who are under the age of nine and who are receiving the vaccine for the first time should receive two doses at intervals of at least four weeks apart.

To help stop the spread of the flu, health officials asked that everyone cover all coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently and stay home when sick.