Flu Season is Here: Get Vaccinated to Protect Yourself and Others

October 24, 2022

With the flu and COVID-19 circulating this season, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Health and Human Services Commission are encouraging everyone who can to get vaccinated.

Flu season often begins in October and can continue as late as May, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s best to get the flu shot during early fall (by the end of October). DSHS recommends that everyone 6 months or older get vaccinated, especially caregivers, older adults, young children, pregnant women and those who have chronic health conditions.

Visit the DSHS Flu Vaccination webpage to learn more about where to get a flu shot. In most cases, health insurance covers 100% of the cost. Be sure to take your insurance and prescription cards.

Flu symptoms can last one week or longer and can include fever, body aches, chills, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue. Getting a flu shot reduces the chance of getting the flu and could lessen the severity of symptoms if you do become ill.

You may receive both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines or boosters at the same time. There is no need to receive one shot and wait to receive the other. The CDC recommends receiving one shot per arm if you plan to receive both at the same time.

The CDC also recommends that people age 65 and older receive a higher dose or adjuvanted influenza vaccine (HD-IIV4, RIV4 or allV4) as data supports that these provide better benefits to people in this age group. If these flu vaccine types are not available at the time of vaccination, then another age-appropriate vaccine should be used.

It takes about two weeks after receiving the flu shot for immunity to build up. It’s important to get your shot as soon as possible, and remember to take these preventative actions to stop the spread of germs:

  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
  • Keep surfaces disinfected.
  • Stay home from work and avoid social activities if you’re sick.
  • If you get the flu, take flu antiviral drugs if your health care provider prescribes them. These drugs are different from antibiotics and can only be received with a prescription. They are known to lessen the severity of the flu. Visit the CDC What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs webpage for more information.

While there are similarities between symptoms of the flu and COVID-19, they are caused by different viruses, and testing is needed to confirm the illness. For more information, visit the CDC Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19 webpage.

To learn more about the flu, visit the DSHS Flu Vaccination webpage.