In 2009 there was a worldwide pandemic of H1N1 also known as Swine Flu that included the deaths of 12,000 Americans and now that strain of influenza has fatally resurfaced in parts of Texas and several adjacent states. Health officials are still encouraging citizens to get a seasonal flu shot which after a couple of weeks will cause the patient to produce antibodies that will help fight off any exposure.
The Swine Flu can not be contracted through properly handled or cooked pork but is spread the same way other season viruses are — through direct contact with germs from infected individuals who may sneeze, cough, or contaminate surfaces. The flu is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and those with certain conditions.
See below the jump what Texas communities have experienced fatal contractions…So far 3 middle-aged Harris County people have died, and health officials there say emergency visits for flu-like symptoms are at a 5-year high. At least two others Swine Flu deaths have been confirmed in Montgomery County, and 5 more in Beaumont.
The wife of one victim expressed her grief and surprise over husband's death from the flu:
“You don't think it would happen to you, you know. We always worried about my son getting the flu shot. We're never really worried about the two of us because you don't really hear about any of this, you don't think it will happen to you,”
February is peak flu season and your doctor or local drug store should still have access to the vaccine. You can search for a location near you at flu.gov or put your zipcode in the widget below. Symtoms of Swine Flu are similar to seasonal flu and can be found at the Center for Disease Control's website.
The Affordable Care Act requires most plans to cover the shots, but if you have not enrolled yet coverage will not start until February, so if you have health concerns you may want to come out of pocket and pay the roughly $30 for the vaccine.
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