Florida Surgeon General Urges Vaccination as Best Defense Against Rapidly Spreading Flu Virus
January 09, 2020
The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie, is strongly encouraging all unvaccinated residents to get their flu shot as soon as possible. Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, nationwide, for the 2019-2020 season so far, there have been at least 6.4 million cases of influenza, more than 55,000 associated hospitalizations and approximately 2,900 related deaths. For Florida flu statistics, please visit the Department’s Florida Flu Review website.
“With this year’s flu season in full swing, it is critical that adults and children get the flu vaccine to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others”, said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “By getting a flu shot now, you will protect yourself, as well as your family and friends.”
“Influenza is a contagious virus that can spread rapidly in our communities and cause severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death”, said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu; it reduces the spread of the virus and can also help make illnesses less severe for those who do still get sick.”
“One of the key indicators of influenza activity in a season is the percentage of emergency room visits from influenza like illness (ILI) or influenza. This season in St. Lucie County, emergency room visits for flu increased in early October and have been consistently elevated into January 2020. The 2019-2020 influenza season has been more active than past seasons. The most predominate strains this season are influenza B Victoria lineage and influenza A 2009 (H1N1). Both strains are included in this season’s flu vaccine” said Clint Sperber, County Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County.
Get the Flu Shot
The vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. Individuals that are at most risk for getting severely ill from the flu are young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.
It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting a flu vaccine every year because flu viruses evolve quickly, and last year’s vaccine may not protect against the current year’s strain. Even if the vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications.
Where to Get the Flu Shot
Flu vaccines are offered at health care providers’ offices, clinics, county health departments, pharmacies, schools, college health centers and from many employers. Find flu vaccine in your area: VaccineFinder.org. Learn more: FluFreeFlorida.com. Call (772) 462-3800 for more information about the flu vaccine or visit our website: www.stluciecountyhealth.com.
Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu
Good health habits like washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing may prevent those around you from getting sick. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office.
Flu vaccines and good hand hygiene are still the go-to recommendations for prevention; however, public health officials say it's just as important to contain the virus, and that means staying home when you're sick.
FDOH in St. Lucie offers Adult Flu vaccine for uninsured clients for $15 and Pediatric Flu vaccine at no charge. Please call us at 772-462-3800 for more information on scheduling an appointment.