Influenza (the Flu)
What is the Flu?
Influenza (flu) is a virus that infects the lungs. Many people who are sick with the flu may recover without requiring medical treatment. However, some people have been hospitalized and have died from the virus, so early evaluation by a doctor is important. The flu is very similar to other types of respiratory viruses such as the common cold and bronchitis. This is why it is important to be seen by a doctor to be diagnosed properly.
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
* Not everyone gets fever
How does the flu spread from person to person?
The flu is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air around them. Tiny droplets that hold the flu virus are expelled into the air and distribute over surfaces like desks, countertops, and doorknobs, which are then touched or inhaled by the next person. Nasal secretions can also be spread from the infected person through a handshake.
- Wash your hands frequently! This is the number one way to keep the flu from spreading.
- Get vaccinated. See below for more information on the flu vaccine.
- Avoid contact with people who have been diagnosed with flu or who appear to have symptoms.
- Keep a distance of 6 feet from infected people.
- Keep surfaces clean that you touch.
What do I do if I think I have the flu?
- Call a doctor about testing and treatment options.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Drink lots of water.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stay home and isolate yourself for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care.
- Wear a face mask when you are in public. If at all possible, do not go out except to go to the doctor.
- Keep surfaces that you touch sanitized with a mild bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water) or other disinfectant.
- Avoid contact with immune compromised people such as pregnant women, elderly, infants, small children, and anyone with HIV, Diabetes, Cancer, Asthma, or any other immune compromising condition.
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from people around you.
The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County is now offering flu vaccines for adults and children. Please call the Health Department (850-983-5200) for pricing. Cash, credit cards, and checks are accepted. We also accept Medicare Part B for flu shots. Vaccines are free for uninsured children 18 years old and under through the Vaccines for Children program.
For more information on the flu vaccine, click the links below.
Information on the flu shot: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Inactivated Vaccine
Information on the flu mist: CDC - Live, Attenuated Vaccine
For information about how the flu is affecting the state of Florida, visit: The Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) - Influenza
For more information about the flu, please visit: CDC - Flu Basics
For information on what strains of flu are currently circulating, see: CDC - Weekly FluView
To understand what strains of flu are covered by the current vaccine, see: CDC - Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination