AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Coughing. Sore throat. Headache. Fever and chills. Sounds miserable, but it doesn't have to be. The best way to stop the spread of the flu virus is early vaccination which is why local, state and federal public health officials recommend that influenza immunization should begin as soon as the influenza vaccine is available.
"Early vaccination is imperative to keep yourself, your family and the community safe from the flu," says Public Health Authority for Potter and Randall counties Dr. Roger Smalligan. "We encourage early vaccination so that we have a protected population that extends through the entire influenza season."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months of age and older. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and their close contacts.
The 2016-17 influenza vaccine will be different than the 2015-16 vaccine so everyone is encouraged to vaccinate yearly to increase protection. There are a variety of flu vaccines available this year and the CDC stresses that the important thing is for people to get vaccinated with any one of the vaccines indicated for their age group.
"Doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals report positive flu test results to us so we may estimate the impact this season's influenza virus is having on our community," says Public Health Director Casie Stoughton, MPH, RN. "Protection may decrease from year-to-year if a booster is not given which is why it is so important to get the flu shot annually."
To learn more about seasonal flu, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm