FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

CDC recommends early flu vaccination

MedSpring Urgent Care, a Texas- and Illinois-based healthcare center, said on Tuesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends early flu vaccinations to individuals six months of age and above.

The CDC said that last year's flu season was one of the worst in a decade and hospitals throughout Texas were forced to turn away hundreds of patients suffering from the flu because of facility overcrowding.

"Last year's influenza season was a reminder of just how serious the flu can be," Jon Belsher, MedSpring's chief medical officer, said. "The flu virus is extremely contagious, so if one person catches it, there's a good chance others at his or her home, work or school will be infected as well. Vaccination significantly reduces an individual's risk of contracting the flu."

The flu usually spreads from person to person through sneezing and coughing. Because it takes approximately two weeks for antibodies from the vaccine to develop in an individual, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

"It's in the best interest of public health to make flu vaccines easily accessible and affordable to the general public, so we're pleased to offer flu shots for just $19," Belsher said. "Vaccines are now available at MedSpring's Austin and Houston locations, and walk-ins are welcome."

The flu vaccine protects against the influenza strains the CDC predicts will be the most common during the flu season.