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Protect Yourself Against Influenza This Season

By Ryan L. Terry, Public Information Officer

November 15, 2022

TAMPA, FLA – The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is reminding residents the importance of protecting against influenza this season by getting a flu shot and practicing responsible hygiene. Flu shots are available through many healthcare providers and retail pharmacies, some of which offer incentives upon receiving the flu shot.

Anyone six months of age or older can get their flu shot for the 2022–23 flu season. A flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications. The vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. Individuals who are at most risk for getting severely ill from the flu are young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccine every year because flu viruses evolve quickly, and last year’s vaccine may not protect against the current year’s strains.

Even if the vaccine does not fully protect against a particular strain of the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications. Infants and those over 65 are most at risk for severe complications, which can lead to hospitalization. While it is too soon to say how severe the season will be, the early flu activity underscores the importance of vaccination this season.

Good health habits like washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing may prevent those around you from getting sick. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office.

Flu vaccines and good hand hygiene are still the go-to recommendations for prevention; however, public health officials say it's just as important to contain the virus, and that means staying home when you're sick.

To learn more about Florida flu statistics, please visit the Department’s Florida Flu Review website.

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DOH-Hillsborough works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @DOHHillsborough and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.