Health department urges seasonal flu precautions

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:06 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Following an uptick in flu activity, the Okaloosa County Health Department urges residents and visitors to help limit risk of exposure to seasonal flu and get vaccinated.

The United States has seen significant increases in flu activity over the past two weeks, which indicates an early flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The flu is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. Compared with most other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza infection often causes a more severe illness.

“The most effective precautions we can use to fight illness are getting vaccinated as soon as possible and by practicing good hygiene habits,” said Dr. Karen Chapman, director of the Okaloosa County Health Department. “There is still time to get the influenza vaccine. With the holidays approaching, and many people traveling or gathering with family and friends, these simple precautions may lessen your risk of getting influenza.”

Those at highest risk during flu season include children under 5 years old, adults 65 and over, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions like heart and lung diseases and diabetes. All health care personnel are strongly urged to get the influenza vaccine.

Meanwhile, watch for flu symptoms including headache, high fever, a severe cough, runny nose or body aches.

The Okaloosa County Health Department provides the flu vaccine free of charge for children ages 6 months through 18 years. No appointment is necessary. Adults can find information on flu vaccine locations at

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