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Boot the flu this season by getting your flu shot early

Parkland Health now has this season’s flu shots available and it’s not too early to get the vaccine that will protect you and your loved ones all season long.

“People often think getting the flu shot early means they won’t be protected all season long but that is not the case,” Cesar Termulo, MD, Pediatrician at Parkland’s Hatcher Station Health Center explains. “Once you get the flu shot, you are protected for about 6 months.”

Dr. Termulo recommends getting the flu shot now or in early October before flu cases begin to go up. The flu season lasts until the spring, with the peak activity typically occurring in mid-winter: December, January, February, or even into March.

Parkland physicians warn that much like COVID, the flu can mutate as well and while a seasonal flu vaccine is not a guarantee you won’t get sick, it is still very beneficial.

“No one shot can guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but the flu shot can protect you or a loved one against a serious illness,” Dr. Termulo explains.

Parkland makes it easy to get your flu shot this fall. Patients of all ages can visit Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care Centers (COPCs) for a flu shot at no cost to you, with no appointment necessary. To avoid a wait, Wednesdays are recommended. During Walk-In Wednesdays, a staff dedicated only to providing flu shots is available from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.

Parkland will also be at several Dallas County flu shot drives throughout the season and our mobile immunization van will also offer flu shots at various locations. Keep up with Parkland on social media to find out where we will be next.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Some people, such as those 65 years and older, pregnant women, young children and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk of serious flu complications.

“As a community, we’ve lost the majority of the preventive habits we picked up from the pandemic, like masking and social distancing. This means viruses like the flu have a higher chance of spreading rapidly,” warned Dr. Termulo.

When it comes to identifying the symptoms of flu, the indicators can sometimes overlap with COVID-19, since they are both respiratory illnesses. If you have symptoms such as fever or fatigue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting tested by a medical professional for both flu and COVID-19, allowing you to get diagnosed and treated effectively for your specific virus.

Experts at both the CDC and Parkland say most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people are at risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. Moderate complications like sinus and ear infections can also occur. Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in some people and can worsen existing chronic illnesses. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of their condition.

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