Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 23, 2013

Increase in flu cases reported

Associated Press
The Athens Review

HOUSTON — From staff reports

 The  chilly December  weather has coincided with an increase in reported flu cases in Texas according to the Department of State Health Services.

  The agency urges Texans to get a flu shot and lists several Henderson County locations where the immunizations are readily available. DSHS says recent increases in flu activity are not unusual but today the level of flu-like illness is classified as “high” in the state. Henderson County is one of the locations that has had a positive rapid test for influenza.

   “Flu is on the rise and causing severe illness in certain people. It is not unexpected this time of year, but it’s a good reminder for people to get vaccinated and stay home if they’re sick,”  Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner said. “Flu can be deadly. People who have not been vaccinated should do so now. It’s the best defense we have.”

  Unusually severe cases of flu-like illness are routinely investigated during the flu season by local health departments in coordination with the Texas Department of State Health Services. H1N1 is the most common circulating flu strain so far this season. This year’s flu vaccine includes protection against the most common flu strains, including H1N1.

  Flu is a serious disease that kills an average of 23,600 Americans a year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People over 65, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk for complications, so it’s especially important for them to be vaccinated.

  DSHS recommends everyone six months old and older get vaccinated. People should talk to their health care provider about the best type of flu vaccine for them. A nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant, and a high-dose vaccine is approved for people 65 and older.

  The DSHS reports that the vaccine is available at the following locations:

 Athens

• Anderson Drug, 419. S Palestine

• CVS,  702 E. Tyler Street

• Walgreens, 1007 E. Tyler Street

Gun Barrel City

• CVS, 1279 W. Main

Mabank

Mabank Family Pharmacy, 207 N. 3rd Street