Flu season is set to return soon and this year's go-around could be especially brutal.
Doctors at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center say it’s still too early to forecast how bad the flu season is going to be. Either way, now is the time to get your flu shot.
Because the vaccine takes two weeks to develop antibodies to protect its recipient, health officials say you need to stay ahead of the virus this season.
Dr. Jason Sevald, an ER director at PBG Medical Center said while last year was a busy season, the severity depends on how well the vaccine matches up with the strain.
He warns that South Florida can be susceptible to to bad flu reactions because of the seasonal population.
"We have a lot of people who, through the months from November to March, do a lot of traveling back-and-forth to their homes here and there homes up north," he said. "So that unfortunately does provide for a lot of transmission from up north down here."
He said people need to remember to follow proper hygiene, especially in public places.
"So the basic things are good hand washing, get your flu vaccine. If you start to get side effects -- chills and body aches — to get checked for it," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 36,000 people die each year from the flu. Officials recommend everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated, but not all vaccines work as well as others. Click here to learn more about vaccinations from the CDC.
People who have the flu experience some of all of the following symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
One of the major flu vaccine manufacturers created an interactive map for flu shot locations. Click here to find a location near you.