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Fight the Flu this Holiday Season

By Renay Rouse

December 05, 2014

(Martin County, FL) – As flu season continues to ramp up around the nation, the Florida Department of Health in Martin County is urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu and use prevention methods, such as frequent hand washing, to stop the spread of the virus.

"With the holidays here, we know it’s a busy time for residents, however, taking a few minutes to get a flu shot is one of the best things that people can do to ensure a happy and healthy holiday season. Especially since the flu vaccine is readily available through local health care providers and pharmacies throughout our community." said Karlette Peck, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.

"Locally in Martin County, flu activity is in the mild range at this time, but we are seeing an increase in the number of residents experiencing influenza like symptoms in the schools and through Emergency Rooms and visits to health care providers." said Grethel Clark, Epidemiology Program Manager for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that, nationally, this year's flu vaccine may not be as effective against the most common flu strain identified this year because the virus has changed. Despite the change or "drift" in this strain, vaccination can still decrease severity of illness. It can also protect against other circulating strains of the virus.

Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your primary care provider immediately for guidance on treatment. Early treatment can lessen symptoms as well as help to prevent severe complications.

To search for a flu vaccine provider, log on to: http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/flu-prevention/locate-a-flu-shot.html