The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) reminds residents to protect themselves and their families from influenza (flu) by getting immunized. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.
“A flu vaccine is a person’s best defense against catching the flu,” said Dr. Joy Jackson, Health Officer for DOH-Polk. “The flu vaccine is safe and effective.”
The vaccine is easily accessible and takes a few minutes to receive. Watson Clinic patients are encouraged to receive their flu vaccine during a regularly scheduled appointment with their physician.
The Department also encourages residents to practice the following health tips to avoid catching or spreading the flu:
- Get vaccinated yearly.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If those are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth since germs are spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
Symptoms of the flu may include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and fever. Some people may also experience diarrhea and vomiting.
Watson Clinic patients who have not yet received their flu immunizations may do so during a regularly scheduled appointment with their primary care provider. For more information, call the Watson Clinic Flu Line at 863-680-7FLU.