Influenza or “flu” is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. The flu does not discriminate and can be a potentially serious and even deadly disease for anyone, regardless of age or health status. The good news is that the flu vaccine can help prevent the flu and lessen flu-like symptoms.
Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated for the flu every year. High-risk individuals include:
- Adults over 65
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic medical conditions
- Health care workers
- Individuals who live with and/or care for high-risk individuals
- Where to Get Vaccinated
Flu shots are available at Shots for Tots/Big Shots clinics for children who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients and for uninsured adults. The flu vaccine costs $25 for adults, $10 for children, and is free for children with Medicaid. No one will be denied services if they are unable to pay. For an appointment, please call 512-972-5520.
For those who are insured, visit VaccineFinder.org to find a location with flu shots near you.
- Additional Flu Prevention
In addition to getting an annual flu shot, you can keep yourself and your family healthy with these simple steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or tissue
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes
- Avoid others who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
You may be contagious from one day before and up to seven days after becoming sick with the flu. Influenza may present the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset
- Fever or chills
- Cough, sore throat
- Runny or congested nose
- Body aches
- Severe fatigue
If you contact your doctor within 48 hours of symptom onset, you may be able to take an antiviral drug, which will reduce the severity of symptoms and length of the illness.
Seek immediate medical attention if a child has trouble breathing, has bluish skin color, is not waking up or interacting. Seek immediate medical attention if an adult has difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, sudden dizziness or confusion, is severely or persistently vomiting, or improves but then gets worse.
Austin-Travis County Influenza Surveillance
The official flu season began on September 27, 2020. The information below contains data through May 15, 2021. Please note, some aspects of influenza surveillance may be affected by current COVID-19 response activities.
- Weekly Report
- Flu activity in Texas is considered minimal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports flu activity in the United States remains lower than usual for this time of year
- Two adult influenza-associated deaths have been reported in Travis County
- No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported in Texas
- No influenza-associated outbreaks have been reported so far this season in Travis County
- Please note, some aspects of influenza surveillance may be affected by current COVID-19 response activities
Austin-Travis County influenza surveillance does not capture all cases of influenza or influenza-like illness. The reporting of seasonal influenza is voluntary. This data should be used for trending purposes over time and for identifying types/strains of influenza that are occurring in the Austin area rather than for estimating the total number of cases.