The Texas Department of State Health Services is encouraging people to get their seasonal flu vaccination now.

“Don’t wait. Get your seasonal flu vaccination now,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from seasonal flu.”

Seasonal flu vaccine, available in shot and nasal spray forms, is recommended for people ages 6 months and older. The shot takes about two weeks to become effective. A separate 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is not expected until mid-October.

“Get the seasonal flu vaccine now. Then, be prepared get the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine later. One vaccine isn’t a substitute for the other,” Lakey said.

People at high risk of having serious flu complications are especially encouraged to get their seasonal flu shot as soon as possible. This includes children ages 6 months through 18 years, those 50 and older, people with chronic medical conditions, residents of long-term care facilities and pregnant women. People who have close contact with those at high risk also should get vaccinated.

People wanting the seasonal flu vaccine should call their health care provider, local public health department, 2-1-1 or check online at for availability.

Lakey also urged people to follow standard illness-prevention steps:

• Wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Cover coughs and sneezes.

• Stay home if sick.

For more information about flu in Texas, visit DSHS’