Although the flu season is subsiding, it has not been kind to Santa Rosa County this flu season, according to Mary Beverly, a spokesman for the Santa Rosa County Health Department. It has claimed two lives in its wake, she said.

The flu season is generally the period between October and March, Beverly said, noting the dominate virus this year was again H1N1, the strand which surfaced in 2009, and caused a pandemic. The new strand four years ago, which caught health providers and clinics by surprise. This year is the first season the H1N1 has become prevalent season. And this recurrence of the H1N1, isnít complete yet, and will likely continue into March, Beverly said.

Those most vulnerable to the flu virus this year are pregnant women, youngsters, the middle-aged (25-64), and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and respiratory problems. Symptoms of the flu are generally associated with coughs, fever, headaches, chills, and muscle aches.

Beverlysays the best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine which greatly reduces the chance that one will get the flu (including H1), and it is highly recommended by the Health Department. Other protection is recommended such as washing hands, covering the mouth when sneezing, trying to avoid others who have the flu, and staying home when sick.