The Florida Department of Health in Franklin and Gulf County is reminding all Floridians to get their flu shot before the height of the upcoming flu season. Flu activity can begin as early as October and last as late as May. The best way to avoid the flu this season by getting a flu shot soon.

“Flu vaccines are available by appointment at all Gulf and Franklin health department locations,” said Sarah Hinds, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Franklin and Gulf Counties. “We encourage you to take this simple step to protect yourself and others from this potentially serious illness. For appointments in Apalachicola or Carrabelle please call (850) 653-2111. For appointments in Port St. Joe or Wewahitchka please call (850) 227-1276. Call today to schedule your appointment!”

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It can take up to two weeks after vaccination to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccine every year as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza and its potentially serious complications. There are many different flu vaccine options this season, which include high dose and adjuvanted vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older.

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 flu strain. Even if the flu vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications.

Getting vaccinated if you are healthy helps to protect our most vulnerable populations. People at higher risk for flu-related complications include children less than 5, adults over the age of 65, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and people who have existing medical conditions, such as asthma and obesity.

Visit FluFreeFlorida.com for more information on how to be a part of #FluFreeFL. For more information on influenza and influenza-like illness in Florida, please visit www.floridahealth.gov/floridaflu.