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DOH urges flu shots now

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 By Wesley Asbell

Special to the Pioneer

In Florida and throughout the United States, flu activity is on the rise. In Levy County, we are currently seeing moderate influenza activity that is actively increasing. There was a sharp increase this past week (Jan. 9-16) among all age groups.

DOH-Levy is urging residents to get the flu vaccine now if you have not already. There are still weeks of flu activity to come. It is not too late to get your flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is safe, and recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women.

Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications. To locate a flu shot near you, contact your health care provider or use DOH’s flu shot locator: www.flhealth.gov/findaflushot

If your child needs a flu shot, please come visit us at the Levy County Health Department or call to schedule an appointment.

If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Your health care provider can prescribe antiviral treatment if appropriate. Treatment is most effective when started within 48 hours, so calling as soon as you become ill is important, especially if you or your loved one is at a higher risk for complications: children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Stay home from work and keep children home from school or daycare when sick to help prevent spreading the flu to others. It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.

Visit FluFreeFlorida.com for more information on how you can be a part of #FluFreeFlorida. Visit www.floridahealth.gov/floridaflu for more information on influenza and influenza-like illness in Florida.