State Health officials are advising that Texans prepare for flu season. Everyone 6 months old and older are advised to get vaccinated soon to protect themselves from getting the flu.

“The flu vaccine causes your body to make antibodies to fight influenza, but it takes about two weeks for this to happen. So, it’s important to get the flu vaccine early, before influenza hits your community,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer. “By getting the flu vaccine every year, you can help protect yourself from influenza, and thereby prevent spreading it to vulnerable people in your family or community.”

For those with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, older adults, and the people who live with them to get vaccinated in order to minimize the risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Family members and others around babies should get vaccinated to protect the babies and themselves since infants under 6 months of age cannot get vaccinated.

People can help stop the spread of illness and reduce their chance of catching the flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick. Additional flu information and tips are at TexasFlu.org.

If people are experiencing flu symptoms, health officials encourage them to seek treatment promptly. Antiviral drugs may help shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.