Marion County hospitals have recorded 290 reports of influenza-like illness since the beginning of flu season in October, according to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.
Symptoms of the illness include:
- 100°F fever or above
- Sore throat
According to Craig Ackerman, spokesman for the DOH in Marion County, reports are sent in when these symptoms cannot be blamed on anything else.
With the holiday season in full swing, both Ackerman and Jan Stepp, Immunization Clinic supervisor in Marion County said this is the “perfect time to get your flu vaccination.”
National Influenza Vaccination Week kicked off Sunday, and Marion County DOH has been spreading the word. Ackerman said the Florida Shots Program allows the department to give free flu shots to youth up to age 18.
Ackerman also offered health tips. The best way to prevent the flu, just like any other disease, he said, is to wash your hands for 20 seconds.
“Nobody wants to miss work, so getting your flu shot and keeping your hands clean are great ways from preventing you from having to miss work,” he said.
According to Marion County’s press release, parents can find out if their children are eligible for free flu shots by calling the Immunization Clinic at 352-629-0127, extension 2017.
Ackerman urges those in other counties to contact their department of health about options for flu shots.