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DOH-Marion reminds you to take precautions this flu season

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

January 18, 2018

OCALA, Fla.—In Florida and throughout the U.S., flu activity is on the rise. Marion County is currently seeing moderate flu activity that is actively increasing. From Dec. 31, 2017, to Jan. 13, 2018, county hospitals and emergency rooms reported 265 confirmed cases of influenza, an average of 19 cases per day. In December, approximately 8 were confirmed each day.

“It’s important to see your health care provider if you become sick with flu-like symptoms,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Health Officer Mark Lander. “The flu can have serious consequences even for someone who has been very healthy previously.”

Health care providers can prescribe antiviral treatment if appropriate. Treatment is most effective when started within 48 hours, so calling as soon as you become ill is important, especially if you or your loved one is at a higher risk for complications. Children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions are considered most at-risk.

Residents are encouraged to get their flu vaccine now if they haven’t gotten one already. There are still weeks of flu activity to come (and plenty of opportunities to become ill).  Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications.

The flu vaccine is safe, and it’s recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. Contact your doctor’s office or local pharmacy today to check on flu shot availability. Children and uninsured or under-insured residents can get one for free or a low cost at the Department of Health in Marion County’s main office in Ocala (1801 SE 32nd Ave.) Monday through Friday. To schedule your flu shot at the Department of Health, please call 352-644-2695 or 352-644-2770. The department also takes walk-in appointments.

It’s important to stay home from work and keep children home from school or daycare when sick to help prevent spreading the flu to others. The department recommends that sick people stay home or keep sick children home until fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).

 It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.

Visit for more information on how you can be a part of #FluFreeFlorida. Visit for more information on influenza and influenza-like illness in Florida.