Florida Department of Health in Walton County encourages flu vaccination

December 6, 2013

waltonhealthIncrease in influenza-like illness in Panhandle

The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) recommends flu vaccination due to an increase in Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) in the Panhandle area.

“We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now,” said Holly B. Holt, BSN, MSM, DOH-Walton Health Officer.  “Flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May.  It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body which protect against the influenza virus infection.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.  Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.  With the holidays in full swing and many people traveling, this simple precaution is the best way to prevent the flu as well as flu-related complications that could lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even death.

Additional flu prevention steps include washing your hands often, keeping your hands away from your face and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing.  Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches.  The Department recommends staying at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone if you or your children are sick with a flu-like illness, unless you need medical care.  For more information about flu prevention, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/prevention-safety-and-wellness/flu-prevention/index.html or http://www.cdc.gov/flu, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, health centers, and by many employers.  It is important for you and your family members to get a flu vaccine every year.  Check with your physician or visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/prevention-safety-and-wellness/flu-prvention/locate-a-flu-shot.html to search for a location to receive a flu vaccine.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call DOH-Walton and Walton Community Health Center at (850) 892-8015 or visit the website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/chdwalton/index.html.