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HIDALGO COUNTY – Hidalgo County Health and Human Services recently began a push to make sure residents are vaccinated for the flu. According to Eddie Olivarez, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Chief Administrator, Hidalgo County flu numbers are similar to what they were in January last year.

Although there is no peak season for influenza, the majority of cases are usually in the months of January and February. Flu outbreaks are not limited to those months though. Olivarez pointed out that the H1N1 Flu outbreak happened in late April. Officially, flu season runs from October through May.

What is also being seen more this year is influenza-like illnesses, or ILI’s. These illnesses are also seen in schools before they are anywhere else. That is why it is important to get children, senior citizens, and people with immune sensitive illnesses vaccinated.

The type of flu most prevalent right now is influenza B. The current vaccine does work very well against influenza B, said Olivarez.

The flu vaccine can be administered at any county health clinic, by your personal doctor, and some pharmacies are giving the vaccine.

Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. Everyone six months and older is encouraged to get the vaccine.

To help stop the spread, people are encouraged to cover their coughs and sneezes, stay home if you are sick, have a plan to care for sick family members at home, and hand washing.

For more information about the flu, visit http://www.hchd.org/ or http://www.texasflu.org/, or dial 2-1-1 for information and vaccination locations.

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