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December 26, 2013

Have you gotten your flu vaccine? It’s not too late

Live Oak — From the Suwannee County Health Department 

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Anyone can get the flu. Beyond hand washing and avoiding contact with infected people, vaccination is the single best way to protect against influenza. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends. Flu viruses are constantly changing therefore flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses. Furthermore, the immune protection from vaccination declines over time and annual vaccination is needed for the best protection. 

Everyone is at risk for seasonal influenza.

Health experts now recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against influenza. While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it is especially important that the following groups be vaccinated: 

• Pregnant women

•Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old

• People 50 years of age and older 

• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions 

• People who live in nursing homes and other long–term care facilities 

• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications  from flu, including: Health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

 Some children 6 months to 8 years of age may need 2 doses of the vaccine to be fully protected. Ask your doctor.

The flu vaccine is safe and cannot give you the flu. Some people do experience mild side effects from the shot though. The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot is given.

The Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County has a large supply of flu vaccine. The vaccine is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. If you have questions, please call 386-362-2708. 

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