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Flu Vaccine Can Provide Protection for You and Others
January 07, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2015
Contact: Communications Office
TALLAHASSEE—With widespread influenza activity across the state, the Florida Department of Health urges Floridians to get vaccinated against influenza. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. The flu vaccine is safe and helps to protect you and others from the flu.
"Flu vaccination is an essential tool to protect Florida's children, adults, and families from the flu," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "The more people who get vaccinated against the flu, the safer our communities are from the flu. Beyond getting your flu shot, you should wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your face, and stay home when sick."
Influenza activity levels remain high in children and people over the age of 65, and there has been an increase in the percentage of pregnant women seeking care at emergency departments for influenza or influenza like illnesses (ILI). These groups are at higher risk of severe outcome from influenza infection. All individuals six months of age and older should receive the flu vaccine each year. The flu vaccine is offered in many locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, health centers and by many employers and schools. Visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/flu-prevention/locate-a-flu-shot.html to search for a flu vaccine location.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that this year's flu vaccine, though less effective against one flu strain, remains protective against the remaining flu strains in circulation this season. Influenza A (H3N2), both drifted and non-drifted strains are the most commonly identified strains circulating this season. Seasons where influenza A H3N2 is the predominately circulating strain have historically been associated with more severe illness and mortality.
It is important for people who do become sick with influenza to stay home when they are sick and parents keep sick children at home to prevent spreading the flu. Additional steps to prevent flu include coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your hands away from your face. Symptoms of the flu may include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for guidance on treatment. Early treatment with antivirals is important and can help shorten the duration of illness and prevent severe complications.
The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.floridahealth.gov.