Why You Shouldn't Put Off Getting That Flu Shot

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Montgomery County Health officials — along with their state and federal counterparts — are trying to get to the bottom of what's making some people severely ill. Eight people were recently sickened with flu-like symptoms. Four of them have died. One of those four tested positive for the H1N1 — as has another who is still alive. The other six cases are still a mystery. And health experts say this should serve as a stark reminder to get a flu shot.

Officials in Montgomery County say none of the four people who died had been vaccinated against the flu.  

Catherine Troisi is an infectious disease expert at UT School of Public Health. She says not all the information is in yet on whether those who died — aside from the one who tested positive for H1N1 — had underlying medical problems.

"There are other viruses that circulate during the winter that can cause people to have influenza-like illnesses, and can cause death under unusual circumstances.  I wouldn't assume it's a new, potentially dangerous virus until all the data are in."

So, in the meantime, Dr. Troisi says no one needs to panic over what's happening in Montgomery County. All you need to do is get a flu shot, and you will be protected against H1N1.

"It takes about two weeks 'til it's fully effective. But you can be partially protected before then."

Other common-sense advice Dr. Troisi has to offer is: don't hang around people who are sick, a good hand washing lasts at least 20 seconds, and make sure to eat healthy foods, and get plenty of rest.

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