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Flu Activity in Hillsborough County Remains High

By Kevin Watler, P.I.O.

February 07, 2018

The number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases reported by Hillsborough County medical providers remains high. Hillsborough County has reported 30 outbreaks during the current influenza season. Nine outbreaks of influenza were reported in child care facilities/school and two in long-term care facilities (LTCF).

There are no additional influenza-associated pediatric mortalities. So far, there has been one pediatric mortality during the current influenza season in Hillsborough County.

Those who haven’t received a flu shot are encouraged to get one now. “There is no shortage in flu vaccines,” said Senior Human Services Program Manager Jylmarie Lewis. “We have a lot and there are many other places people can go to get a flu shot.”

There are many places in Hillsborough County that offer the flu vaccine. Visit www.flhealth.gov/findaflushot to locate a place that offers flu shots. You may also contact your health care provider.

Influenza A (H3) is the strain of flu that is more common this season. This strain is usually associated with more severe illness in young children and adults over the age of 65.

In addition to getting vaccinated, those who practice good handwashing and staying away from others who have the flu will lower the chance of getting sick.  For those who get the flu, “stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication,” said Epidemiology Program Manager Michael Wiese.

Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications. “While the vaccine may not be as effective with the Influenza A (H3) strain, it may prevent serious complications from the flu and help protect individuals from getting another strain,” Wiese added.

There are still weeks of flu activity to come. It is not too late to get your flu vaccine.  The flu vaccine is safe, and recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women.

Tips:

If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Your health care provider can prescribe antiviral treatment if appropriate. Treatment is most effective when started within 48 hours, so calling as soon as you become ill is important, especially if you or your loved one is at a higher risk for complications: children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Stay home from work and keep children home from school or daycare when sick to help prevent spreading the flu to others. It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands.  Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.

Visit FluFreeFlorida.com for more information on how you can be a part of #FluFreeFlorida. Visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/influenza/index.html for more information on influenza and influenza-like illness in Florida.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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