Health experts: Get flu shots by Halloween

COMPILED BY THE
DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County is urging residents to get vaccinated against influenza by the end of October to reduce the risk of illness this flu season. The flu shot is recommended annually for all Floridians six months of age and older.

“The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the spread of influenza,” said Interim Administrator Ron Rondeau. “All Volusia County residents should take precautions against the flu by getting vaccinated, regularly washing your hands and staying home when you are sick.”

The flu vaccine is available in a variety of locations including county health departments, family physicians, pharmacies and many worksites. There are vaccines approved for people of different ages as well as for use in pregnant women and those with health conditions. The vaccine is widely available and takes just a few minutes to reduce your risk of illness.

Millions at risk
Employees are being urged to get their shots early to help prevent sickness in the workplace.

According to the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, 45 percent of workers who get sick with the flu believe they caught it from someone at work.

The flu annually sends more than 3 million Americans to the doctor, hospitalizes 200,000, and kills at least 3,000.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza costs U.S. employees and employers an estimated $87.1 billion in lost worker hours and productivity.

So far, more than 76 million doses of 2015-16 flu vaccine have been distributed nationwide. Flu activity has been low in the U.S., the CDC states, but outbreaks can happen suddenly.

Safety tips
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your elbow to reduce spreading of germs.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Try to avoid close contact with people who are showing symptoms of illness.

If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 to 48 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicine, except to get medical care or for other necessities.

Get revaccinated every year because strains of flu viruses change each year.

A report from Business Management Daily was used in this report.

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