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Harris County health officials urge residents to get flu, COVID vaccines going into holiday season

While COVID infections remain low in Harris County, Dr. Ericka Brown says getting a bivalent booster will help keep those numbers low.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu as we head into the holiday season.

Harris County Public Health Community Health and Wellness Director Dr. Ericka Brown said they are already seeing an early start to the flu season, along with rising numbers of the respiratory illness RSV.

Brown said it's only expected to get worse after the Thanksgiving holiday.

And while COVID infections remain low in Harris County, Brown says getting a bivalent booster will help keep those numbers low.

To find out where you can get free immunizations, visit Harris County Public Health's website.

The difference between flu, COVID-19, RSV

According to an infectious disease specialist in The Washington Post, the flu is notorious for coming on quickly with fatigue and body aches that hit you like a truck. 

As we know, COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms, but often starts with a sore throat. Meanwhile, with RSV, the symptoms are similar to a common cold, but they arrive in stages and not all at once. Those symptoms include sniffling and sneezing, loss of appetite and coughing.

When in doubt, a doctor can do swab tests to determine what you have. Hospitals even have a single test to check for all three, according to The Post.

While RSV can be serious in small children, it is usually milder for adults. For mild cases of all three, the treatments are pretty much the same: lots of liquids, plus over-the-counter painkillers for fever and aches. For more serious symptoms, call your doctor for advice.

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