Florida among states showing high levels of flu activity

Doctor recommends getting flu shot

MIAMI – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year's flu season has reached the epidemic threshold. So far, 22 states are showing high levels of flu activity, including Florida.

This season is faced with some challenges. The vaccine is not well-matched with the flu. That's because the virus is restructuring itself. 

"This virus is one that changes its shape and compensation -- it's appearance -- on a constant basis," said Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry with the Miami-Dade County Health Department. "So it wants to fool the immune system. It's a survival mechanism."

The vaccine is decided every year based on how the previous season was and which strains were most common. This time around, the most popular strains are H1N1 and H3N2. But nobody knows what to expect until the season is actually here. 

Mejia-Echeverry said the vaccine is still a person's best defense. The flu season will reach its peak in February, he said, so now is the time to get vaccinated.

But even after being vaccinated, people still need to look out for flu-like symptoms.

"The message here is, because of this situation, even if you got the vaccine and you develop symptoms, don't procrastinate," he said. "Don't wait to see a doctor."

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