The 2019 flu season is officially underway and officials recommend vaccination as the best way to help prevent contracting seasonal flu.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the official flu reporting season begins in October and continues through May. In Texas, influenza activity usually peaks in January or February.

Since it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after receiving the flu vaccine, TDSHS recommends getting flu vaccines before the end of October.

“The flu can sometimes be mistaken for the common cold,” said Christina Hagerty, Ed.D., LSC-CyFair dean, Public Service, Health and Behavioral Sciences. “Those who are considered at high risk of flu complications include individuals who are 65 years and older, young children and those with existing health conditions.”

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Flu symptoms can occur suddenly and include fever, coughing, sore throat, headaches and fatigue.

“Another important step people can take to minimize the risk of getting the flu is frequent handwashing,” said Hagerty. “This is the number one prevention strategy for the flu and other illnesses that are prevalent during flu season.”

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