SARASOTA – We’re not even halfway through flu season and the number of flu cases continues to rise. There’s still time to get your flu shot and plenty of the vaccine to go around.
Flu activity is widespread throughout the state of Florida and according to the Florida Department of Health, activity is rising every week.
“If people are thinking about the last several years as a traditional flu season, we’re seeing more cases then a traditional flu season, it’s not a reportable disease so it’s very difficult to come up with very specific numbers, but we know there’s an increase.”
Disease Intervention Services Program Manager at the Sarasota County Department of Health Michael Drennon says Doctor’s throughout the region are seeing more patients coming in with fever and body aches.
“You’re going to feel exhausted, really tired, sore throat, runny nose,” Drennon said. “But the fever and the body aches are hallmarks of influenza.”
More people getting the flu means more people are trying to get the flu vaccine.
“As the flu season has become more aggressive and we’ve seen more cases,” Drennon said. “There is an increase demand for the flu vaccine, so some facilities that might have had it beforehand there either running low or they may be running out; they’re going to have to order more.”
But just become some offices are running low,it does not mean there is a shortage of the vaccine.
“There’s always panic when there is an uncertainty,” Dr. Vilma Vega said. “However there are still places that there are vaccines all around they just need to be looking, if not in their physician’s office they need to be going to their retail pharmacies.”
Drennon says the Health Department is fully stocked and it’s never too late to get the vaccine.
“People should think about the Flu vaccine two fold,” Drennon said. “One is it can help prevent getting infected, but the other is if you unfortunately do get infected and you’ve had the flu vaccine, it can also make the symptoms much milder.”
Especially if this flu season sticks around longer than usual.
“Usually we see our peak in February,” Drennon said. “Middle of February and we taper down from there, but since January 1st, we’ve just seen increase after increase every week, and if we look at that and we try to predict, I’d say it’s going to run a little longer this year.”
You can find more information on where to get your flu vaccine by visiting the Department of Health’s for the flu shot locator.