The flu has landed. Centra Care locations are reporting clusters of positive flu tests around town.
In fact, 47% of flu cases came from 4 centers in East Central Florida:
● University – up 160%
● Oviedo – up 150%
● Winter Park – up 33% (kids)
● Waterford – up 900%
Lake Buena Vista also reported a 400% increase in pediatric patients being treated for the flu.
Influenza viruses are classified as type A, B or C based upon their protein composition.
Type A viruses are found in many kinds of animals, including ducks, chickens, pigs, and whales, and also humans. The type B virus widely circulates in humans. Type C has been found in humans, pigs, and dogs and causes mild respiratory infections, but does not spark epidemics.
Influenza A and Influenza B are included in each year’s flu vaccinations. Getting a flu vaccine can protect against flu viruses that are the same or related to the viruses in the vaccine.
So what symptoms do you look for? Is it the flu, or could it just be the common cold? Both are upper respiratory infections caused by a virus and many of the symptoms present similarly.
The difficulty is self-diagnosing just what kind of flu you’re dealing with; only lab tests can determine exactly what type of flu you may have. Generally, flu symptoms come on more quickly and are much more severe than cold symptoms.
Source: CDC and National Institutes of Health
If you think you have the flu, seek medical care quickly. The flu can cause serious complications for some people such as bacterial pneumonia, or it can worsen chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes. Complications are more likely in the elderly, those with chronic conditions, young children and pregnant women.
Centra Care has a quick influenza test that can tell within minutes if you’ve got it. The earlier you are diagnosed can make a difference in how long the flu lasts or how severe it may become. Anti-viral prescription medications (like Tamiflu) can be quite effective, BUT you need to start the medication within 48 hours of symptom onset or they won’t work.