From the Florida Department of Health in Orange County and the CDC
The start of the 2020 Flu season is right around the corner, and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) encourages all Floridians to Fight the Flu by getting a flu shot.
While we look forward to a vaccine for Covid-19, there’s no better time than now to take advantage of flu vaccine. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Unlike Covid-19, most of us have general knowledge about flu season and the flu—a respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization or death. But like Covid-19, flu shares many of the same symptoms: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches and headache.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine every year. This year, the CDC underscores that flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you, and to help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to Covid-19.
According to the CDC, during the 2016–2017 flu season, vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million illnesses, 2.6 million medical visits and 85,000 hospitalizations. Every year, flu vaccine reduces severe illness for people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease.
Flu vaccine protects pregnant women and even their newborns and infants for several months after birth. For children, flu vaccine can be lifesaving. Flu varies from mild to severe illness, but children often need medical care when sick with the flu. Children younger than 5, and children of any age with certain long-term health problems, are at higher risk for flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.
Immune systems become weaker as we age—this puts people 65 years and older at a higher risk for serious flu complications. About 70 to 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths in the United States are people 65 years and older. On average, this age group accounts for 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations.
The flu vaccine is recommended though for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. Every flu season is unique, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.
Receiving your flu vaccination if you are healthy helps to prevent illness in our most vulnerable populations. People at higher risk for flu-related complications include children ages newborn to five, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and people who have existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and those with a weakened immune system.
Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards.
Because protection from flu vaccine declines over time and flu viruses are constantly changing, yearly vaccination is best. Flu vaccine is evaluated every year and often updated to address the viruses that will be common during an upcoming flu season.
Flu vaccines are made using killed flu viruses or without flu virus at all—it’s a myth that you can get flu from a flu vaccine. Some people who are vaccinated still catch the flu, but the vaccine serves as protection against severe symptoms and illness.
Keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 minutes to help stop the spread of germs—if soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Regularly clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces in your home, school or office. And if you’re sick, contain those germs and stay home!
practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands with soap and water
make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office
take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face
if you are sick, stay at home to mitigate the transmission of the virus
General flu information: cdc.gov/flu.
People at high risk for complications:cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm.
Flu vaccine safety: cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm.
The Florida Department of Health, 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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