December 15, 2005
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recommends that people traveling over the winter holidays take precautions to avoid getting or spreading the flu.
“With rain, colder temperatures, long trips and family gatherings, people will be spending more time together in enclosed spaces,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Texas Commissioner of State Health Services. “During this time of year, germs such as the flu virus are more likely to be spread from person to person. More frequent travel increases the chances of flu-like illnesses spreading from city to city,” he said.
Primary precautions for reducing the risk of getting or spreading influenza are:
- Cover coughs and sneezes to reduce the spread of viruses and other germs.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Stay home if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.
People with the flu generally can transmit the virus to others from one day before getting sick to from three to seven days after getting sick.
The length of time between exposure to the flu virus and development of symptoms ranges from one to four days and is typically about two days.
Symptoms of the flu – which usually come on suddenly – include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
Sanchez said it is not too late to get a flu shot. “Getting vaccinated can provide protection from influenza throughout the season,” he said.
The flu season in Texas generally runs from October through March, peaking in January and February.
(News media: for more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)