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Florida Blue has teamed up with Walgreens to offer free flu shots every Thursday in October from 10 a.m. until noon on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the flu shot.

But following a winter in which more than 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses in the U.S. — the highest death toll in more than 40 years — infectious disease experts are ramping up efforts to get the word out.

80,000 People Died Of Flu Last Winter In U.S.

Sep 27, 2018

An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter — the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades.

It's almost flu season, and young Floridians are not as protected as they should be. According to a new analysis, almost half of Florida's high school students reported they didn't get a flu shot within the past year.

"I would say I'm a bit frustrated," said Dr. Wissam Al Khoury, the lead researcher on the study, Demographic Differences in Flu Vaccination among Florida’s High School Students: Evidence from 2017 Florida Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which he recently presented at a conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Pharmacy Panel Critiques Legislature Over Flu Tests

Apr 3, 2018

A state pharmacy board on Monday criticized the Florida Legislature for not passing a bill that would have allowed Florida pharmacists to test and treat people for the flu and strep throat.

This nasty flu season, which has been worsening for months, may finally be leveling off.

William Brawley / Flickr

It's already been one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. Now, you can add a late-blooming, but hard-hitting, allergy season to the list of reasons for some Florida residents' sinus miseries.

Florida Department of Health

While the flu is causing problems around the country, the number of students and teachers infected in Pinellas County has increased this year.   

Pensacola ER Nurse In Viral Video: 'Wash Your Stinking Hands'

Feb 5, 2018

A nurse's Facebook rant about the "cesspool of funky flu" in a Pensacola area emergency room waiting areas is getting a lot of attention.

The flu has forced one school in Pinellas County to close and others in the Tampa Bay area to send warnings home to parents.

A particularly bad flu virus is burning through Florida and health officials say people can still protect themselves—and others.

“Getting vaccinated can prevent flu in yourself, but it also may prevent flu in people who you are not infecting,” says Dr. Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist with the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Especially for young children or people who are at high risk of flu, it's very important that people around them are vaccinated.”

Central Florida is seeing a spike in flu cases. Florida Hospital’s urgent care Centra Care locations saw 1,200 cases last week.

Florida Department of Health

Health officials say the United States could have a harsher than usual flu season, and is already showing influenza activity above the national baseline for the first time this season.

This year, the flu season is expected to be among one of the worst to hit the United States.   

Influenza season is at its peak nationwide, and Florida is no exception. That's obvious on the map at the Centers for Disease Control website.

Florida health officials said it's been a mild flu season so far, unlike the last three seasons when doctor offices were filled with patients before Christmas and illnesses peaked by late December.

Florida is a major player in widespread influenza reported in 43 states so far this season.

Levels of transmission have reached epidemic proportions, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials say that a mutation in the flu virus may be to blame for the rising number of flu cases this year.

VA.gov

Veterans in Florida can now get a flu shot at any of more than 800 Walgreens locations and the drug store will electronically forward their immunization record to the VA.

It's a pilot program being tried out in the Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (VISN8) which includes all of Florida, southern Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It requires no paper record, no remembering at your next VA health care appointment.

In 2014, health insurance plans will have to include, among many other preventive health benefits, a flu shot free of charge.