Health Department warns of active flu season, encourages flu vaccination

The Florida Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin Counties reported beginning to see an increase in influenza-like illness visits.

“It is expected that we may experience higher-than-usual flu activity this season,” said the DOH in a release. “Australia, which experiences their flu season first and often foreshadows our season, had an early start to their season and experienced a more severe season than in recent years.”

It is typically recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October, but the DOH emphasized that late vaccination may still provide protection during the peak of flu season.

For people 65 years and older, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended over standard-dose, unadjuvanted flu vaccines. These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccineFlublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. More information is available at Flu & People 65 Years and Older.

In addition to flu, there has also been an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus across the U.S. and Florida, with some regions nearing seasonal peak levels. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

There is no vaccine for RSV, but there are steps that you can take to protect your children and loved ones. These include frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, avoiding touching your face and avoiding contact with sick people. For more information on RSV, click the link here.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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