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December 31, 2013

267 flu shots given by Suwannee County Health Department

Blackmon: Over a dozen cases of flu reported

Live Oak —

Approximately 267 flu shots have been given to local residents by the Suwannee County Health Department this flu season, SCHD Administrator Pamela Blackmon reported. So far, over a dozen cases of influenza have been reported from local medical providers just within the last couple of weeks. 

According to SCHD, influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Besides routinely washing hands and avoiding contact with infected people, vaccination is the single best way to protect against the flu. Flu shots are available for everyone six months of age or older. 

It is especially important for children under five years of age or over the age of 50 to obtain a flu shot, Blackmon said. Also, pregnant women; people with any certain chronic medical conditions; those who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; and those who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, such as health care workers, should seek to be vaccinated. 

According to the Florida Department of Health, flu symptoms consist of: body aches and pains; cough and chest discomfort which may become severe; early and significant exhaustion; fatigue and weakness that may last up to 2-3 weeks; headache; high fever (102-104 degrees) for three to four days; and occasional stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. 

To prevent getting the flu, the SCHD recommends taking the following steps: Get vaccinated; wash your hands often - the most common way to catch the flu is to touch your own eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands; keep your hands away from your face; keep your distance from others when you are sick and if you are around someone else who is sick; stay home if you are sick; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing; if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands; be aware you can still spread germs up to seven days after getting sick; and finally, Vaccinate - get your flu shot. Additionally, Pneumococcal vaccine is available and recommended for persons at increased risk for serious Pneumococcal infection, including those age two years or older with certain chronic medical conditions and all persons aged 65 years or older.

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