Hillsborough County health officials report today that the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases reported by health practitioners remains high in the county.
During this flu season, 30 outbreaks have been recorded including nine outbreaks of influenza were reported in child care facilities/school and two in long-term care facilities (LTCF).
One pediatric flu death has been recorded.
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.
Health officials continue to encourage the public to get their flu shot as there are still weeks of flu activity to come. It is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women.
“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,” said Epidemiology Program Manager Michael Wiese.
The Hillsborough County Health Department offers the following 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.