Flu season is here in Florida, taking two lives already

The flu season in Florida has arrived.

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Health confirmed a 7-year-old and a 17-year-old died from influenza-associated complication.flu-shot

“We are beginning to see an increase in flu activity in our county. Now is a good time to remind all that a flu shot is an excellent preventive measure,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, Director, Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.

Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip said most people view the flu as a minimal threat, but Floridians should take flu infection seriously.

Besides a flu shot, the Department of Health says it also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands to help prevent the spread of seasonal flu.

“Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face,” the Health Department reminds.

Marketing over common sense? May be better to wait on flu shot

The marketing of the flu vaccine has become an almost year-round effort as drug store chains urge their customers to get a shot earlier and earlier.

But a story by CNN says that may not be the wisest thing to do to combat the flu.

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When should you get a flu shot? It may be better to wait despite retailers’ claims.

Some experts say marketing may be overtaking medical wisdom since it’s unclear how long the immunity imparted by the vaccine lasts, particularly in seniors.

An early flu shot is better than no flu shot at all, but the science is uncertain how long your immunity will last if you get the shot in late summer as opposed to early fall. Flu season generally peaks in mid-winter or beyond.

“If you’re over 65, don’t get the flu vaccine in September. Or August. It’s a marketing scheme,” said Laura Haynes, an immunologist at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.

Tom Charland, founder and CEO of Merchant Medicine, said medical services on demand appeals to millennials but when it comes to late summer flu shots, “It’s a way to get people into the store to buy other things.”

Read the whole debate on the issue at CNN by clicking here.