Flu Cases On The Rise, Get Your Flu Shot Now
Florida’s first flu-related deaths for the 2019-20 season were three children who had not been vaccinated. None of them had other health issues that contributed to their deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.
A simple flu shot might have saved their lives.
Their deaths come at a time when flu cases are on the rise in Florida. Outbreaks are more widespread at this point in the season than in recent ones. And more people are going to emergency rooms and urgent care centers for the flu than in previous years.
At the same time, there’s a drop in the number of people getting flu shots, including Florida Blue members.
The best way to protect you and your family is to get a flu shot. The shots are recommended for children who are six months and older. Florida Blue members can get their shot at no additional cost when going to a network doctor or pharmacy.
Although flu season is well underway, there’s still plenty of time to get your shot and be protected. Check with your doctor to make sure there is no reason for you not to get a flu shot. (Click here for key frequently asked questions about flu shots.)
Dr. Kelli Wells, Florida Blue’s senior medical director for medical affairs, said it’s important to call your doctor as soon as you or someone in your family start to feel flu symptoms, such as a fever, cough or sore throat. Virtual care services like Teladoc (if you have these as part of your benefit plan) are a good option for flu cases. That way you don’t share the flu bug with others in a waiting room.
The flu is treated with an antiviral, like Tamiflu. Normally, people with the flu feel sick for about 10 days, Wells said. Taking Tamiflu immediately may help you start feeling better in four or five days.
It’s important to take steps throughout flu season to protect yourself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avoid close contact with sick people; cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; and wash your hands often with soap and water.
Most importantly, though, make sure you and your family get flu shots.