While many of us spent the past week hanging on to the last days of summer, a steady increase of Central Florida residents spent the week suffering from the flu. In fact, Centra Care physicians are reporting a three-fold increase in the number of patients they diagnosed with the flu at this same time last year.
Centra Care doctors diagnosed 64 patients with influenza this past week, compared with 22 cases this same week in 2012. All patients suffered from type A influenza. Adults made up 55 of the 64 patients. All cases were confirmed as the influenza virus using a rapid influenza test, in which a nasal swab of a patient is taken and tested for the virus. Centra Care is part of Florida’s Influenza Surveillance System.
Influenza symptoms often mimic those of a cold, but unlike a cold, the flu can be extremely dangerous. Typical Influenza symptoms include muscle aches, fever, headache, cough, and lethargy. A flu shot is the single best protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting your flu shot as soon as they are available. There is no reason to delay, as immunity will last throughout the flu season.
Flu Shots for adults and children, as well as anti-viral medication are available at all Central Florida Centra Care urgent care centers. Flu shots are $30. There’s no out-of-pocket cost to seniors who bring their Primary Medicare card.
Centra Care physicians advise the public to:
Catch Symptoms Early – If you suspect you have the flu, its duration can be shortened considerably with antiviral medicine. Centra Care physicians have the rapid Influenza test at each center – so they can determine if you truly have the Influenza and if you need a prescription. Anti-Influenza medications can be dispensed on-site. It’s important to understand, antiviral medication must be taken within 48 hours of the first appearance of flu symptoms.
Get Your Flu Shot Now – Once you receive the flu shot, it takes your body about 2 weeks to reach maximum immunity. Flu season is here, but it’s not too late to get protected. Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated. Especially those who are at high risk for serious complications including:
- Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Vaccination is also important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading flu to high-risk people.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
Practice Flu Prevention: Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Keep your hands away from your face.