Flu Season in Walton County

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Walton County health officials say over the past couple of weeks they have seen close to 30 to 40 people a day coming in to get vaccinated.

Even though flu season doesn't officially start until January or February, nurses say they have seen it begin as early as October, lasting until May.

"It has been very light, only 22 counties in Florida have had much activity and we are not one of them,” said Kathryn Barley, Nursing Director for the Walton County Health Department.

Pharmacies have also seen an increase in the number of people coming in for a flu shot.

"We have actually had a lot of questions and inquiries about the flu shot,” said Joan Ellison, Owner and Pharmacist of Santa Rosa Pharmacy. “A lot of people are more aware of when it is the proper time to get flu shots, so we have had a lot of questions about it."

The shots are recommended as the best defense against the flu. But if you decide not to get one, there are other steps you can take.

“The number one thing is obviously is sanitation, hand sanitation, hand cleaning, making sure things are clean and covered up,” said Ellison.

Health experts say it pays to get the vaccine though, because they can't predict how long the flu season will last or the severity of the virus.

"The southern hemisphere is where we find out what kind of flu will be circulating the next flu season, because when you think back when we are in winter they are in summer, and vice versa,” said Barley. “The flu vaccine that has been developed for this year is affective for the flu we are seeing."

Health professionals say anyone older than 6 months can receive the flu shot.