Health News

Flu Season: Not Over Yet

Usually by this time of year, flu season has begun to wind down and the children can especially be at risk.

But Centra Care doctors have recently seen another spike in flu cases…and most have tested to been Influenza Type B.

The areas that have reported the largest increase include:

Altamonte Springs, Clermont, Longwood, South Orange: up 200%
Kissimmee, Waterford Lakes: up 300% (kids)
Mount Dora: up 500% (kids)
Sand Lake: up 400%


The A,B,C’s of Influenza

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.

What are the tell tale signs when you’re sick? Is it the flu, or could it just be the common cold? Both are upper respiratory infections caused by viruses, so many of the symptoms appear to be similar. The difficulty is self-diagnosing just what kind of flu you’re dealing with; only lab tests can determine just what type of flu you may have.

Generally, flu symptoms come on more quickly and are much more severe than cold symptoms. Below is a chart that can help you determine if you have a cold or the flu:

Symptoms Cold Seasonal Influenza (flu)
Fever Rare Usual; high (100°F to 102°F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last up to 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe


Source: CDC and National Institutes of Health

If you think you have the flu it’s important to 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.