Both in Florida and throughout the U.S., flu activity is on the rise. In Florida, data shows more influenza activity across all age groups this year than detected in the last two flu seasons. Cases of the flu are particularly increasing in the northern portions of the state, including the Panhandle.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that based on their data, this might be the peak of this year’s flu season. CDC recommends that people who are very sick or who are at high risk of serious flu complications and get flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible.
It is not too late to get your flu vaccine. There are still weeks of flu activity to come. Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications.
To locate a flu shot near you, contact your physician, your local county health department, or use the Florida Department of Health’s flu shot locator: www.floridahealth.gov/findaflushot
“The flu vaccines that are being given during the 2017-2018 season do not contain a live,” said Nicklaus McMellon, a pharmacist with Rx Express Pharmacy in Navarre, who said many people are afraid to get the flu vaccine due to belief in the lack of effectiveness, fear of needles, etc. According to McMellon, flu vaccines are covered by most insurance.
The CDC recommends everyone six months and older, including pregnant women, be vaccinated.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get injectable flu shots. Nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for this flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands to help prevent the spread of seasonal flu. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.