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The Villages
Monday, November 21, 2022

Sumter County Health Department warns of higher-than-normal cases of the flu

The Sumter County Health Department advises all residents and medical providers of increased influenza activity. Cases of influenza detected locally and across the state of Florida are higher than expected for this time of year.

“Although flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, they continue to be the best way to prevent infection and reduce the risk of more serious influenza-related complications,” said Dr. Sanford Zelnick, Director of the Sumter County Health Department.

The health department is therefore encouraging residents to get their flu vaccine now if they have not done so already. The flu vaccine is safe and recommended for everyone 6 months and older, including pregnant women. For adults 65 and older, a high-dose flu vaccine is recommended. Certain children, those between 6 months through 8 years of age, require two doses of influenza vaccine. If you have questions about the influenza vaccine, please contact your medical provider.

Symptoms of the flu may vary but could include any of the following: fever, chills, muscle aches, runny nose, congestion, cough, headaches, and fatigue. If you are experiencing any such symptoms, please stay home and contact your medical provider if symptoms persist. It is important to practice good hand hygiene as well, such as hand washing and covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing.

Medical providers are encouraged to increase their suspicion of influenza for patients presenting to them with respiratory illness. Though COVID-19 is still present in our community, influenza may be responsible for respiratory illnesses. Rapid diagnosis of influenza is most helpful to initiate anti-viral medications and other supportive measures.

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