Flu season is coming and Denton County health officials are strongly encouraging people to get themselves vaccinated.
"Public health is all about prevention. We would encourage everybody to take steps that would help protect their families against the flu that some years is pretty mild and some years can be devastating," said Bing Burton, Denton County healthdirector.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the 2012-13 flu season resulted in more hospitalizations of people older than 65 than any flu season on record. In addition, flu-related illnesses cause some 200,000 hospitalizations each year.
According to the CDC, on average, the past fewyears only 42 percent of Americans were vaccinated against the flu.
"We would encourage families to not expose themselves to undue risks. We get examples every year of individuals who could have been protected but elected not to have the vaccine," Burton said.
"Expanded use of influenza vaccine can be aneffective way to prevent illness, hospitalization and death."BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and viaTwitter at @BjlewisDRC.
The Centers for Disease Control andPrevention offered a handful of tips to help ward off the influenza virus thisseason.
* Bring your own pen to the bank, grocerystore, even to touch the ATM. Anything a sick person touches can harbor germs,including money, mail, ATM keypads, elevator buttons, etc.
* Replace hand towels in bathrooms with papertowels. They're not as pretty, but paper towels can help get rid of a ton ofgerms that live in damp towels.
* Wash hands frequently. Use soap, warm waterand rinse long enough to say the alphabet or sing "Happy Birthday." Recentstudies show plain soap and water work just fine.
* Use a proper hand sanitizer, at least 60percent alcohol, any time you touch anything. Make sure you use sanitizer underfingernails where germs can hide.
* Clean with disinfectant. Viruses andbacteria can live up to two hours or longer on doorknobs, toys, TV remotecontrols, keyboards, mouse pads, refrigerator handles, counter tops, railings,faucets, bathroom floors and more.