Along with the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic, Florida will also contend with the upcoming flu season. It’s more important than ever, say Florida county health departments, to get your flu shot.
“Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications,” reads a release from the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas). “With hospitals already handling a great number of patients suffering from COVID-19 infections, the flu vaccine can prevent hospitalizations during this time of crisis.”
According to the DOH-Pinellas, last year’s flu season was mild thanks to a high flu vaccine rate, social distancing measures and mask wearing to combat COVID-19. This year, schools are back in session without mask mandates, many people are back in their offices and, though the pandemic saw record high cases over the summer in Florida, there are no government mandates for social distancing or mask wearing – making for a potentially busy flu season.
Get the Flu Shot
The CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women and people with certain chronic
health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.
Because flu viruses evolve quickly, and last year’s vaccine may not protect against the current year’s
strain, the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine every year. Even if the vaccine does not fully protect you from the flu, it can
reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications.
According to the CDC, it’s safe to get a flu vaccine the same time as your COVID-19 vaccine.
Most pharmacies and primary care physician offices offer flu shots. For information and locations visit FluFreeFlorida.com.
Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu
Just as with COVID prevention, the CDC recommends frequent washing or hand sanitizing to help stop the spread of the flu.
Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and get into the habit of cleaning and sanitizing commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. And if you feel sick, stay home.