With the flu season almost at its peak and widespread outbreak across Texas, Faith Community Hospital (FCH) is taking action to help Jack County residents prevent infection. Hospital officials are reminding the community that flu shots are available for only $20 and everyone age six months and older should get vaccinated.
“The best way to prevent the flu and to help maintain a healthy community is to ensure as many people in our community receive a vaccination,” said Frank Beaman, CEO of FCH. “Inventory of flu shots are available and ready at a moment’s notice. We encourage anyone who has not yet received one to come to the FCH Rural Health Clinic and request to be vaccinated.”
Current vaccines available cover most strains of the flu virus that health officials are currently seeing, including H1N1.
Beaman said that he expects FCH to be able to meet local demand but did caution that individuals should not wait very long as we are quickly as the flu outbreak continues to spread across North Texas with many deaths reported in nearby Denton and Tarrant Counties.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of the flu typically come on suddenly and may include fever or fever chills, a cough and sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
Most people who develop the flu are contagious five to seven days after they show symptoms.
“The best advice we can give to those who come down with the flu is to stay home,” said Dr. Neil Berry, a family practice physician at FCH Rural Health Clinic. “Staying home will help cut down on the number of people you expose to the flu. It is also important to use that time to rest and drink plenty of fluids.”
For those with underlying medical conditions, Dr. Berry recommended that you call your medical provider as early as possible to see if they want to test for the flu and prescribe any antiviral drugs.
“Those with weakened immune systems, as well as children and the elderly should especially be cautious of getting the flu,” Dr. Berry added.
To avoid the flu and help prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends that you avoid close contact with those who are sick and stay home if you recognize symptoms. Covering your mouth and nose when you need to sneeze or cough; frequently washing your hands to avoid spreading germs; and avoid needlessly touching your eyes, mouth, and nose is advised to prevent the spread of infections.
To help individuals get vaccinated, the hospital is holding a flu shot clinic every Tuesday and Thursday through the month of January. Those interested should stop by FCH between 9 a.m. and noon.
Insurance plans are accepted, or a self-pay option is available for only $20 per shot. No one will be turned away because of not having insurance or inability to pay. Insured patients are asked to bring their insurance cards.
For more information on the availability of flu vaccinations, please call Melanie Belcher at 940-567-6644 ext. 281.