Flu ravages the State of Texas!

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CDC has issued a health advisory warning of increased influenza A (H3N2) activity around the United States and its clinical implications.

Vaccine effectiveness has been found to optimally reduce the risk of contracting the flu by 40 to 60 percent across the population, the CDC says. A total of 2,485 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported between October 1 and December 23, according to the agency, with more than 87% of those cases involving H3N2.

To protect pediatric patients, mothers and newborns from flu viruses circulating in our region, all Samaritan Health Services hospitals will limit visitors in birthing centers, beginning January 4.

People experiencing flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider if they have severe symptoms like trouble breathing, are pregnant or have chronic health conditions such as lung or heart disease or diabetes. Some of the symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.

In the last seven days alone 1,111 people have been hit by flu - a shocking increase of 156%. Flu season is starting much earlier than usual and it's expected to be a nasty one. "Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing".

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Lara Anton, Press Officer, Texas Department of State Health Services provided information on the incident of flu statewide.

Although November is the best time to get vaccinated, there is still time to get the flu shot also.

The health department can bill insurance, but it also can serve those without insurance as well as those who are under-insured, Keller said. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though that is more common in children than adults.

Haupt says the best thing people can do to protect themselves right now is to get vaccinated, since there is an ample supply of the flu shot available. In Texas, though, people get out more often and have a higher chance of coming into contact with others who may have the flu and can spread the virus. "It's important to know that it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect".