During National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), the Florida Department of Health continues to urge Floridians to get their flu vaccine to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others. It is never too late to get your flu shot. While most cases of flu are mild, there are exceptions. The department confirmed in late November the first influenza-associated pediatric death of the 2017-2018 flu season in an unvaccinated child.
“We are saddened to lose even one life to flu-related illnesses,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “Although most people view the flu as a minimal threat, Floridians should take flu infection seriously as it can cause severe illness, and even death, in some cases. Flu season is already in full swing but it is not too late to get your flu shot – which is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is usually highest between December and February. Getting your flu shot can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Receiving your flu vaccination if you are healthy helps to prevent illness in our most vulnerable populations as well. People at higher risk for flu-related complications include children ages newborn to 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people who have existing medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protective antibodies against the flu. The CDC 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.
Put the flu vaccine between you and the disease this year by receiving your vaccination today. Check with your physician, your county health department, or use our Flu Shot Locator to schedule your flu vaccine. Visit FluFreeFlorida.com for more information on how you can be a part of #FluFreeFlorida.