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Sarasota and Manatee health departments are strongly encouraging residents older than six months of age to follow the Florida Department of Health's recommendation that all unvaccinated residents get a flu shot as soon as possible. Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, nationwide, for the 2019-2020 season so far, there have been at least 6.4 million cases of influenza, more than 55,000 associated hospitalizations and approximately 2,900 related deaths. Individuals that are at most risk for getting severely ill from the flu are young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu

Good health habits like washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing may prevent those around you from getting sick. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office.

Flu vaccines and good hand hygiene are still the go-to recommendations for prevention; however, public health officials say it's just as important to contain the virus, and that means staying home when you're sick - even if it means missing holiday festivities.

Source: Florida Department of Health

For more information and to find health department locations where you can get the vaccine, click here or call (941) 748-0747 (Manatee) or (941) 861-2900 (Sarasota).

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