October marks the beginning of flu season, and the Florida Department of Health, FDOH, wants to make sure you are vaccinated. “We have a saying, 'vaccine before Halloween,'” said Donna Van Tol, Collier FDOH Immunization Program Manager.
As of Sept. 29, 2018, the CDC reported 181 pediatric deaths nationwide. The report stated 80 percent of those deaths were children who didn't receive the flu vaccine.
Free Flu Vaccination for Kids
To limit the chances of kids getting the flu, the FDOH is offering free flu shots to children under the age of 18. On its website, FDOH list all the locations where parents and guardians can take their children to receive the flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a flu finder site where people can enter their zip code to find where they can receive a flu shot for free.
Free Flu Vaccine for Adults
Adults who don't have health insurance can also get a free flu shot. All they have to do is fill out a few forms with the FDOH.
Once the flu shot is administered, it will take about two weeks for the vaccine to become active.
Side Effects of Flu Shot
With any vaccine, there are chances of side effects after receiving the flu shot. According to the CDC, some of the side effects might include headaches, fever, muscle aches, and slight nausea.
“If you do get the flu it’s not going to be as severe, the symptoms aren’t going to last as long, probably not going to end up hospitalized or with severe complications,” Van Tol explained.
The DOH said Florida is one of the luckier states because the flu usually doesn’t hit as early as the national average. The CDC's weekly flu map lists Connecticut as the first state to have widespread flu reports.