POSTED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 8:11pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 8:29pm
EL PASO — El Paso, along with the rest of Texas, has been stricken with an unusually high number of flu cases. As a result of the high number of cases, Texas has now been upgraded to the “widespread” influenza activity level. Given current data, influenza cases are the highest and earliest that they have ever been since 2003. Historically, El Paso influenza actually peaks after the new year, in January, February or even later.
“…the news from today is that flu is increasing. This year's strains look to be a great match with this year's vaccine and it's time to get vaccinated if you haven't been already gotten vaccinated” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during his weekly influenza telebriefing.
Local providers are prepared to vaccinate everyone seeking to get protected this year, there are approximately 20 million doses of influenza vaccine left across the US in the possession of practitioners and vaccine manufacturers.
By getting your flu vaccine, you can protect yourself from influenza and may also avoid spreading influenza to others. Immunize El Paso is offering the vaccine to everyone 6 months and older seeking the immunization. The costs is covered by medicare, medicaid and many major health insurances. Qualifying children can have the costs waived through the Texas Vaccines for Children Program.
Young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system – can get much sicker. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people die from influenza and even more require hospitalization.
These are some simple steps to take to keep yourselves, your loved ones and those around you as healthy as possible during flu season:
• Get your flu shot.
• Cover your cough.
• Wash your hands.
• Stay home if you are sick.
For more information on influenza vaccination or other ways on how to keep safe this flu season, please visit www.immunizeeelpaso.org , call 915-533-3414 or visit our clinic at 1580 George Dieter, Ste. 102, El Paso, TX 79936.