NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The flu season is officially underway according to the Texas Department of Health Services.
Fortunately, Stephen F. Austin State University nursing students are ahead of the game of protecting East Texans from the nasty virus.
Thanks to support from the Nacogdoches medical community, a longtime service is continuing at the Pineywoods Fair. SFA nursing professors Dr. Della Connor and Dr. Janice Hensarling expected their annual trip to be canceled because the Public Health Clinic couldn't afford the vaccines. However, last-minute help from other health providers kept the service going.
"Medical Center here in Nacogdoches and the Surgery Center here in Nacogdoches came forward," Connor said. "They gave us the influenza vaccines, the flu vaccines, so we could give them free. They paid for them themselves."
A total of 700 vaccines were donated. Each night, they go fast.
"We've given pretty much about 150 every evening, Wednesday, and Thursday, and we'll be out there again today, Friday night," Connor said. "We'll be out there all day Saturday, 11-9 and then Sunday, 1-4. I assume we'll probably run out of flu shots on Saturday though."
Early detection will help, and Dr. Bryan Davis is already seeing cases.
"We're already seeing a couple of cases of influenza," Davis said. "This is certainly early. Usually we tend not to see influenza strike until later on."
One common excuse for skipping flu shots is the belief that people can get sick from the shot itself.
"But with the vaccines, it's not possible to get an actual infection with the virus," Davis said.
Other patients say they get sick anyway even when they get the flu shots.
"It doesn't protect against the whole host of 100's of other viruses that can cause symptoms of an upper respiratory infection," Davis said.
The choice is yours, but a lot of East Texans are going with the shot. Arrive early at the fair if you want the free ones.