Austin, Texas – – Influenza activity in Austin-Travis County and the state of Texas is lower than last year, according to Austin Public Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently found that flu activity in the United States is actually less than normal for this time of year.
Austin health professionals attribute the flu vaccine and people taking proactive hygiene measures to the lower numbers.
“Getting the flu shot is a great way to protect yourself and your family and to make sure we don’t add further flu infections to our healthcare system,” said Janet Pichette, Austin public health epidemiologist. “Our community is more proactive this year with hand washing, social distancing, and wearing face covers, which not only help fight COVID-19 but also slow the spread of the flu.”
The latest flu report released by Austin Public Health (APH) on December 7th showed six positive flu tests for the week of November 22nd, a positivity rate of 1.45%. For comparison: APH reported over 800 positive flu tests around this time last year with a positivity rate of nearly 30%.
It’s important to note that reporting of seasonal influenza is voluntary and that Austin-Travis County’s flu surveillance does not track all flu cases, according to the APH.
This week as we recognize National Influenza Vaccination Week, we want our community to take the time to visit VaccineFinder.org to find a place near you that offers flu shots if you haven’t already been vaccinated . APH also offers flu vaccines for uninsured or Medicaid recipients. You can call 512-972-5520 to make an appointment.
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Health officials are urging people to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible
You are protecting your community and yourself by wearing your mask, washing your hands, getting the flu shot, and listening to your body.
Keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the flu and COVID-19 with these simple steps:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available
- Coughing and sneezing into elbows or tissues
- Do not touch your nose, mouth or eyes
- Avoid others who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
Flu symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body pain, headache, and tiredness.
Since both flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, tests are likely to be needed to confirm a diagnosis. Most providers, emergency care providers, and pharmacies offer flu tests.
For information on COVID-19 testing, please visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
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