The ISDH is urging residents to take precautions amid recent increases in flu-like illnesses in several areas of the state.
With the 2016-2017 flu season in full swing and influenza activity increasing across the state, it is critical that all Floridians get the flu vaccine to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others.
The vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but if you do get sick and were immunized, you may be in luck.
By the end of 2016, a total of nearly 6,200 lab-confirmed cases of flu had been detected since the current season started in the early fall, says PHAC, which reported outbreaks in 206 institutions, nearly 70 per cent of them long-term care facilities that house the elderly. It is recommended that everyone who is 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine.
“Although January and February are typically the peak of influenza season, the rapid increase is unusual”, said the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in a statement released to the press.
The good news is that this year’s vaccine covers all the circulating viruses, Anderson said, and should someone with the flu shot get the flu, it would be a much milder form of it. Eight states have reported high influenza-like illness activity – Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and SC.
People with flu symptoms should avoid contact with elderly people, pregnant woman and patients with long term health problems. For a full list of people at high risk of flu-related complications, see People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.
That, combined with the flu appearing in South Jersey and low flu vaccination rates, could spell trouble for families in the coming weeks and months.
Seven of the 10 flu deaths in North Carolina this season have been seniors. People who become severely ill with flu-like symptoms should seek medical care.
People experiencing symptoms of flu-like illness should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands and stay home when sick. Flu season lasts all the way until March, so getting vaccinated now will still give you months of protection.