With 90 degree temperatures outside, flu season is probably the last thing on your mind. However, local clinics are starting to get the vaccine in and several respiratory bugs are already making the rounds.
Peggy Siler is a firm believer in getting the flu shot.
"I've never really gotten the flu since receiving the flu vaccination, not even a mild strain or case of it," Siler said.
But healthcare workers are concerned fewer people might get vaccinated this year. That's because last year's flu shot only worked for about a third of the people who got it. The strain was also more severe, landing a lot of people in the hospital. As this year's flu season approaches, nurse Nancy Epps is hoping for the best.
"A lot has gone into the planning for the flu shot this year. CDC did include last year's surprise flu strain into the flu vaccine this year. So everyone will be covered for that one," said Nancy Epps, Tampa General Hospital employee health clinician.
Even if you get the vaccine, and still wind up with the flu, experts say your symptoms will be short-lived and less severe.
"Even if you think you don't want to get it for yourself because you're young and healthy, you have a good immune system, or you never get the flu. I really want to encourage you to get it. Because you might have the flu, you might have really low symptoms. You might even continue going to work or school. But you can transmit it to other people, and that's where it gets really dangerous," said Epps.
That's exactly why healthcare worker Peggy Siler isn't chancing it and getting her flu shot early.
"My husband's going through chemo for colon cancer so his immune system is very low. So it's to protect him. I also have a one year old grandson in the house so i always get it. I've gotten it every year," Siler said.
Tampa General Hospital's taking that to heart, with more than 9,000 vaccines on hand to help every healthcare worker get vaccinated. Now they hope everyone else will also take time to protect against the flu.
Some Florida Hospital CentraCare locations will be offering flu vaccines for free next month. More information can be found here: centracare.org/florida/blog/2015/09/02/2015-fast-free-flu-shots/
You can also find a link of providers offering flu shots here: www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/flu-prevention/locate-a-flu-shot.html