Schedule your flu shots now

Yes, it’s that time again. Time to line up the family for flu shots.

And for the second year, it will be a shot and not the FluMist, which last year was found to have a poor rate of preventing the flu in recent years.

This year, the shot will have a different formula of H1N1 (swine flu), but will have the same influenza A and B formula.

Who should get a shot? Anyone older than 6 months of age.

The medical field especially wants these folks to get the shots, according to the statement released this month by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Children with conditions that increase the risk of complications from influenza (e.g., asthma and other chronic lung diseases, diabetes mellitus, sickle cell disease, hemodynamically significant cardiac disease, immunosuppression, renal and hepatic disorders, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders);
  • All household contacts and out-of-home care providers of children with high-risk conditions or children younger than 5 years, especially infants younger than 6 months;
  • Children and adolescents (6 months through 18 years of age) receiving an aspirin- or salicylate-containing medication, which places them at risk for Reye syndrome following influenza virus infection;
  • American Indian/Alaska Native children;
  • All health care personnel;
  • all child care providers and staff; and
  • All women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, are in the postpartum period or are breastfeeding during the influenza season.

Who should not get a shot? Only people who have been told by a doctor not to get it.

How many shots do you need? Children ages 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a shot before (no FluMist doesn’t count), need to get two shots, one four weeks after the first one. Children ages 9 and older and adults who have never had a shot, only need one shot. Everyone else, it’s also just one shot.

When should you schedule shots? Now, through the end of October is the best window because it takes about two weeks for full immunity to kick in.

Want to know more about the brain? UT wants to tell you in new series

The University of Texas College of Natural Sciences has a new education series it’s calling “Brainstorms” all about the brain. The first one is Saturday, and it’s all about Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.

“The Forgetting Brain” will feature Neuroscience Department Chair Michael Mauk talking about his own experience after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and how it affects families.

He’ll also share recent research developments and how researchers are now thinking about memory that might change the way Alzheimer’s is treated in the future. In Austin, Dell Medical School at UT and Seton Healthcare Family are now doing research on Alzheimer’s disease through a state-funded grant from the Texas Council on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders to participate in the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium.

Mauk’s talk will be 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday in the Thompson Conference Center Auditorium, 2405 Robert Dedman Drive. (Find free parking in Lot 40.) You don’t have to RSVP to attend, but you can at

You also can sign up for future “Brainstorms” talks:

3:30 p.m. Oct. 14

6:30 p.m. Nov. 9

3:30 p.m. Jan. 27

6:30 p.m. Feb. 15

3:30 p.m. March 24

3:30 p.m. April 21

6:30 p.m. May 17

Where’s the best place to raise a family? Hint: It’s not Austin

What does Overland Park, Kan., have that Austin doesn’t have? It’s the best place to raise a family, according to a Wallet Hub survey that looked at family fun, economics, child care and education, health and safety, and affordability.

Austin came in 33rd. Shockingly, according to Wallet Hub, we do well in affordability (12th), but only 45th in family fun? And if we’re affordable, why is it that for socio-economics, we’re 75th? We also were 66th and 70th in health and safety, and education and child care.

In Texas, Plano ranked third in the country with a high rank for health, safety and economics and affordability.

Austin was the next highest city in Texas. Amarillo came in 43rd, Grand Prairie 47th, Irving 65th, Fort Worth 71st, El Paso 82nd, Arlington 86th, San Antonio 89th, Garland 98th, Lubbock 100th, Corpus Christi 104th, Houston 107th, Dallas 110th, Laredo 119th, and Brownsville 121st.

The top 10 overall were

Overland Park, Kan.

Madison, Wis.



Fremont, Calif.


Virginia Beach, Va.

Sioux Falls, S.D.

Irvine, Calif.

Lincoln, Neb.

My challenge though is for anyone in Sioux Falls, Lincoln and Overland Park to come to Austin and see where you’d rather raise your family. We’re betting that our lack of cold weather, our music scene and our queso will make you want to pack up the family and head south to Austin.

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