An early flu season is swamping Tampa Bay hospitals with influenza sufferers.
Up to now this month, 108 adults and 9 youngsters contaminated by the virus have been admitted to BayCare Well being System’s 15 acute care hospitals, in keeping with information as of Sunday.
Against this, 24 adults and two youngsters had been hospitalized for the flu in November 2021 at BayCare amenities, stated spokesperson Lisa Razler in an e mail.
“We’re seeing main upticks in flu,” stated Laura Arline, BayCare’s chief high quality officer.
Six flu sufferers have been hospitalized this month at Johns Hopkins All Youngsters’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, in keeping with information from late final week. Solely three influenza sufferers had been admitted to the hospital in all of November final 12 months.
Orlando Well being, which owns Bayfront Well being St. Petersburg, “continues to see a gentle improve of flu exercise,” added spokesperson Invoice Kallus in an e mail.
The virus surged earlier than usual this season, in keeping with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. No less than 4.4 million flu instances, 38,000 hospitalizations and a couple of,100 deaths have occurred within the nation for the reason that starting of October, in keeping with federal estimates.
The H3N2 strain of influenza A is dominant. It causes extra extreme outbreaks than different kinds of flu.
Florida and different states throughout the Southeast are grappling with high levels of respiratory viruses. Flu and influenzalike sicknesses are growing in 80% of Florida counties, together with Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco, in keeping with a report from the state Department of Health.
Flu season sometimes runs between October and Could. Influenza instances had been down in Florida in the course of the 2020-21 season due to pandemic security measures resembling masking and social distancing. Infections had been additionally decrease than standard final winter.
However which means many residents weren’t uncovered to the virus, so diminished population-level immunity could also be driving the early uptick in instances in the course of the 2022-23 season.
Flu will be lethal and may trigger extreme issues resembling pneumonia. Excessive-risk teams embrace youngsters beneath 5, pregnant girls and other people 65 and older. (As of Monday, All Youngsters’s had not recorded an influenza loss of life this season, in keeping with spokesperson Danielle Caci.)
Common flu symptoms embrace cough, congestion, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
Hospital leaders stated individuals ought to get vaccinated in opposition to the virus. Everybody 6 months and older is eligible for the pictures, which can be found at pharmacies.
Residents must also contemplate sporting masks in crowded public locations, stated Allison Messina, chief of the division of infectious illness at All Youngsters’s.
“Flu could make individuals very sick in the event that they’re not cautious,” stated Peggy Duggan, chief medical officer at Tampa Common Hospital.