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Health News Florida

Emergency Room Visits For Flu Are Up In Orange County

flu shot in arm
Hytallo Souza

There has been a “small increase” in the number of people visiting Orange County emergency rooms in recent days, the county’s top health official said Monday.

Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange, says these early cases suggest flu season is already in Central Florida and it’s time to get vaccinated.

“And the vaccine needs a few days to be able to develop immunity,” Pino said during the county’s weekly update on the coronavirus pandemic. “So you have to take it well in advance of when the season goes in the high peak so that you are protected from the outcomes. So this is really the time from now on as soon as possible to get vaccinated.”

Flu season usually begins in October across the country.

Pino recommended people get the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which protects against four types of influenza viruses, for the most coverage.

“So you have more protection,” he said. “So when you are getting vaccinated ask, ‘which vaccine are you getting?’ And get the one that has four viruses, if you have the ability to get that one.”

He said the state received more than $800,000 from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase vaccination rates in the county using drive-thru sites.

Flu symptoms, according to the CDC include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults