flu_shot_2.jpgBroward County Health Department officials are urging the public to take precautionary measures against influenza.

The flu season, which has begun, can last until May and vaccinations are recommended against the contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus and spreads to others when infected persons cough, sneeze or talk. 

“We strongly encourage everyone six months and older to get vaccinated against the flu,” says Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the Broward County Health Department. 

Individuals at high risk for flu complications include infants and young children, pregnant women, those 65 and older and persons of any age with chronic medical conditions.  It is especially important for such individuals and their caretakers to get vaccinated, the department said.

The common symptoms are usually high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea — which is much more common among children than adults. 

Along with getting vaccinated, the department says the following steps are effective in preventing the spread of influenza:

  • • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.
  • • Stay home when you are sick, keep sick children home from school and check with a 
  •    health care provider, as needed.
  • • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, when possible.
  • • Avoid crowds and areas where people gather and are likely to  sneeze and cough.

Flu vaccine is available at local retail outlets, pharmacies and health care providers.

For more flu information, visit browardchd.org