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State health experts recommend flu shots ahead of Thanksgiving

Additionally, eligible Texans can get their updated COVID-19 booster shot with their flu shot.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is recommending everyone get their flu vaccines ahead of Thanksgiving.

The DSHS has been monitoring the flu season throughout Texas, as it came a few weeks earlier than predicted this year. In lieu of this, the DSHS is encouraging everyone that is eligible to be vaccinated against the flu to do so before the Thanksgiving holiday to protect themselves and family members. 

“Vaccination remains our best defense against severe illness from flu, especially for more vulnerable populations like older adults, very young children, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, interim commissioner for the DSHS. “That’s why we recommend that everyone six months and older receive their flu vaccine each year. And it’s especially important to get vaccinated now since it takes the body two weeks after vaccination to fully produce antibodies to fight flu.”

Reports from all across the state confirm more influenza-like illness occuring earlier than in recent flu seasons, which also matches reporting from across the country. The flu vaccines for the 2022-23 season have had substantial changes since last season, which better protects people from the current strain. 

Anyone that is feeling sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay at home and contact their primary health care provider, who can provide anti-viral treatments to ease symptoms in those that are at higher-risk like people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease. 

Other ways people can slow the spread of the flu is by washing hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, covering the face when coughing or sneezing and staying home if you don't feel well.

Eligible Texans can also get their updated COVID-19 booster shot with their flu shot. The updated COVID-19 booster protects against the Omicron variants, which are causing the majority of COVID-19 illness in Texas, according to DSHS data.

For more information on the vaccines or to find where flu shots, COVID-19 boosters or both are available, visit the DSHS website.

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