2009-2010 Flu & Pneumonia Season
The Brevard County Health Department encourages
everyone to get a seasonal flu shot, but during this flu season we will not be
giving seasonal flu shots in either special clinics or during normal
immunization hours. For those who have come the the health department for
their flu shots, we encourage you to look to your personal physician or to many
other retail outlets that are offering seasonal flu vaccinations. For the
most current information, please see our home page.
Individuals, particularly those 65 and older, who have never received a pneumonia
shot are encouraged to come to any health department clinic and get vaccinated.
Pneumonia vaccine is available year round at a cost of $35.00.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
A cold often starts with feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and a runny nose. You may not have a fever or you may run a low fever just a degree or two higher than usual. You may also have muscle aches, a scratchy or sore throat, watery eyes and a headache. As the cold worsens, your nasal mucus may turn from thin and watery to yellow and thick. Your symptoms may vary with each cold. A cold usually lasts three or four days but can last up to 10 days. Many adults will have at least one or two colds a year, and most children will have five to eight. Colds are most common during months when people tend to gather indoors.
The flu, which is a nickname for the influenza virus, starts suddenly and hits hard. Your fever may go as high as 105F. You'll probably feel weak and tired, and have a dry cough, a runny nose, chills, muscle aches, severe headache, eye pain and a sore throat. The fever may last for three to five days. After the flu goes away, you may still feel weak and tired or keep coughing for up to three weeks. The flu is most common in winter and early spring. It often occurs in outbreaks. The flu virus changes often. About every 10 years it undergoes major changes, so that more severe outbreaks occur.
What causes colds and the flu?
Viruses. Over 100 different viruses can cause colds. The flu, on the other hand, is caused by just a few different viruses each year. That's why there's a vaccine for flu but not for colds.
What can I do to feel better?
There's no cure for a cold or the flu. All you can do to feel better is treat your symptoms while your body fights off the virus. Stay home and rest in bed, especially while you have a fever.
In Florida, the flu season is most active from January through April. It takes one to two weeks after the shot to develop protection from the flu. In the meantime, there are important prevention measures that you can take to protect yourself.
- To help avoid the flu, take precautionary measures
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.
- Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children home.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible. Avoid crowds and areas where people congregate and are likely to be sneezing and coughing.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve. Be sure to always clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner after coughing or sneezing.
- Finding vaccinations - Alternatives
- Call your health care provider to see if they are offering the flu vaccination.
- Be persistent in trying to find outlets that are administering the flu shot.
- The new flu mist is an option of protection for healthy caregivers or healthcare workers who are not caring for immune compromised individuals.
- Links to Federal government sites
- The Florida Department of Health closely monitors flu activity
- Each year, the spread of influenza and the total number of cases can be unpredictable.
- Influenza is not a reportable condition in Florida but the Sentinel Surveillance Program gives a relative picture of activity levels for the state.
- Nationally, more than 114,000 people are hospitalized each year from the flu.
- Nationally, more than 36,000 people die each year from the flu.
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