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Influenza in Texas: A Message From Commissioner Hellerstedt – English 3:38

November 9, 2019

Hi, I’m Dr. John Hellerstedt and as the Commissioner
for the Texas Department of State Health Services, I’d like to remind you about the importance
of protecting yourself and your family from influenza – the flu. The flu is a very serious illness and Texas
is currently seeing a high level of flu cases. It’s important we all take precautions against
the flu. It’s imperative that people over 65, young
children, pregnant woman and people with chronic health conditions protect themselves against
the flu. Folks in these groups are at a greater
risk of severe flu complications like hospitalization and even death. Stay informed about the flu. Visit or dial 2-1-1 for information
including vaccination locations. The best way to prevent influenza is to get
the flu shot, and it’s not too late. The flu shot can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’
visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and
death. With rare and specific exceptions, everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot. Washing your hands often is another effective way to prevent the flu. Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and
water or use an alcohol-based cleanser. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. That’s how germs are spread. And you should clean and disinfect surfaces
and objects that may have flu virus or other germs on them. Remember to cover your cough or sneeze. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. No tissue around? Use your sleeve or elbow, not your hand. Do your part to keep germs from spreading. How do you know if you have the flu? Flu-like symptoms may include fever, cough,
sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people, especially children, may also
have vomiting and diarrhea. You can have the flu, with respiratory symptoms
without a fever. Most people who develop flu will recover on
their own by getting rest and will not need to seek medical care or require medication. You should seek medical attention for the
flu if you are at a greater risk for developing severe flu complications. If your doctor prescribes antiviral
drugs, please take them. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines
and can help alleviate flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. And if you do get sick, stay home until you’re
well, except to seek medical attention, so you don’t spread your germs. Typically, you are still contagious until
24 hours after your fever is gone, so stay home. Also, steer clear of others who are sick. And if you are sick, limit contact with others
to keep from infecting them. Thank you for helping us keep Texans healthy. Stopping the flu is up to you.

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