City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Austin Public Health statistics compare current flu trends to last year's data
Austin, Texas – Flu activity in Austin-Travis County and the state of Texas is lower than last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently noted that flu activity across the United States is actually lower than normal for this time of year. Austin health experts attribute the flu vaccine and people taking proactive hygiene measures to the lower numbers.
“Getting a flu vaccination is a great way to protect yourself, your family, and to help ensure that we don't burden our health care systems even further with flu cases,” said Janet Pichette, Austin Public Health Chief Epidemiologist. “Our community is more proactive this year with washing their hands, social distancing, and wearing face coverings, which not only helps to fight COVID-19 but slow the spread of flu as well.”
The most recent flu report released by Austin Public Health (APH) on Dec. 7 showed six positive flu tests for the week of Nov. 22, a positivity rate of 1.45%. For comparison, this time last year, APH was reporting more than 800 positive flu tests with a positivity rate near 30%.
It is important to note that the reporting of seasonal influenza is voluntary and Austin-Travis County flu surveillance does not capture all cases of flu. Flu surveillance data should be used for trending purposes only.
This week, as we recognize National Influenza Vaccination Week, we want our community to take the time to visit VaccineFinder.org to find a location near you offering flu shots if you have not already been vaccinated. APH also offers flu vaccines to those who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients – you can call 512-972-5520 to schedule an appointment.
Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy from flu and COVID-19 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
Symptoms of flu may include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or congested nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue. Since both flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, testing is likely needed to confirm a diagnosis. Most providers, urgent cares, and pharmacies offer flu testing. For COVID-19 testing, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
For flu information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/Flu.