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Get flu shots ‘early’ this year

October 10, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze




Muscle aches and more.

While the "peak months" won't start until the new year, flu season is under way and officials recommend that "everyone over 6 months old" get vaccinated now.

Adults 65 and older, children younger than 2, and those with chronic health conditions are among those especially at risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We urge everyone to pay heed: According to health department statistics, in an average year, an estimated 226,000 people are hospitalized due to the flu. Thirty-six thousand die nationwide.

Private physicians and pharmacies offer flu shots.

So does the Department of Health in Lee County, which provides the inoculations at 3920 Michigan Ave. in Fort Myers.

Right now, the department "has a limited number of doses of High-Dose flu vaccine to offer to adult clients age 65 and up." The price is $50.

The department also has FluMist and the vaccine available for children 2 through 18.

Other supplies are still limited.

For tots 6 through 24 months, call to check availability. For adults 18-65, the department hopes to have vaccine available at the end of the month.

The number to call is 332-9601.

According to the Department of Health, this year, there are some additional reasons to get a flu shot at the start of the season.

With the various viruses circulating, the last thing one wants is the possibility of back-to-back bugs.

A flu shot lets you control what you can control.

There also are things we can do to help limit exposure in the community.

The biggest thing, of course, is to stay home while exhibiting flu symptoms - or the symptoms of any virus-type illness.

The Centers for Disease control recommends that we stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, leaving only to receive medical care or obtain necessities.

This also means limiting contact with others as much as possible, lots of hand washing and covering your nose and mouth during a cough or sneeze.

And a word of warning for those of us worried this year about the so-called enterovirus D68: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and surface cleaners do not kill the virus and prevent its spread, health department officials warn.

Instead, use lots of soapy water to wash, and bleach-based products for surfaces.

We may not be able to prevent this from becoming a nasty year for the flu.

But we can take action to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and we can help mitigate its spread.

- Breeze editorial



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