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Defend Yourself Against the Flu

By Allison McDaniel

November 14, 2018

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) urges residents to get a flu shot as soon as possible. The 2017-18 flu season was one of the worst in decades and accounted for 79,400 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu shot is safe and is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu.

According to the CDC, last year’s flu season was severe for all age groups, which is unusual. A decrease in adult vaccinations may be a factor for its widespread severity. The CDC reports the number of adult vaccinations for 2017-18 to be the lowest in seven years.

“The flu vaccine is your best defense against the flu,” said Dr. Karen Chapman, Director of DOH-Okaloosa. “To help avoid a severe flu season like we saw last year, it is critical for everyone to be vaccinated. You are protecting not only yourself, but everyone around you.”

The CDC recommends all individuals 6 months and older get a flu shot each year, including pregnant women. The virus is constantly changing, so receiving a flu shot each year is essential.  The vaccine takes two weeks for your body to develop protection against the virus, so the earlier you are vaccinated the better.

Even if the flu shot does not fully protect you against the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms. The flu shot also protects vulnerable populations such as children under 5, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and adults over the age of 65.

Contact your health care provider or visit FluFreeFlorida.com to locate a flu shot provider near you and for more information on how you can be a part of #FluFreeFL.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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