Flu season underway in Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Flu season underway in Tampa Bay

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As flu season ramps up in Florida, health officials are putting out reminders to residents to protect themselves with flu shots.

The season for influenza generally runs from October through March.

So far, Florida is reporting sporadic flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But there are pockets of increased activity – including a flurry of reports at Tampa General Hospital.

In the first three weeks of October, TGH saw three times the number of flu incidents as it did the same time last year, TGH spokeswoman Ellen Fiss said.

It's unclear why TGH saw such a jump, but that kind of thing does happen, said Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the Hillsborough County Health Department.

"It's not uncommon for one part of the county to sort of lead the way, if you will," Holt said.

Flu symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, head congestion, cough and muscle aches, he said.

In general, the season in Hillsborough County appears to be about average so far, Holt said. But the severity of the season locally could depend in part on how many people decide to get a flu shot, helping to spread influenza to others.

"When we talk about this for the public, ‘typical' means many of them may not get sick, but it may be your turn," Holt said. "And the best way to prevent that is to be vaccinated."

Health officials recommend most people get the flu vaccine, including children age six months and older and the elderly, who can be especially vulnerable if they get sick.

About 15- 40 percent of people will get sick from the flu each year, according to the Florida Department of Health.  


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