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Influenza, which is more commonly called the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. While the flu is present year-round, it is more common (and you are more likely to catch it) during flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and continue into May.
At Centra Care, we want to help you make the best decisions about your health and wellness. In this blog post, we’ve gathered information about flu symptoms, testing, and treatment in Sanford, Florida. We’ve also compiled a list of Centra Care locations, which offer flu tests and treatment if you think you or a loved one may have the flu.
An Important Note Before You Read
Don’t use this blog as a substitute for a medical diagnosis. If you or someone you know doesn’t feel well, talk with your doctor right away. You can easily have a video visit with one of our online providers through the AdventHealth app.
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Flu Season 2022 in Florida
In Sanford, Florida, we are already well into flu season this year, and it is likely to be one of the most severe in over a decade. According to the Florida Department of Public Health, this year’s flu season began on October 2, 2022. You can track Florida’s flu season statistics and get more information on the spread and severity of the illness at the Florida Department of Public Health website.
How the Flu Spreads
The flu spreads through respiratory droplets, which enter the air when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or even talks. The flu can also spread by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Symptoms usually begin about 2 days after exposure. While it is rare, some people with flu can be asymptomatic, meaning that they have no symptoms (just like with COVID-19).
How Long the Flu Is Contagious
People who have the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after they start to experience symptoms. However, it is still possible to give others the flu after 4 days. Healthy adults can be contagious for up to a week after becoming sick, and children or those with weakened immune systems might be contagious for even longer.
Preventing the Flu
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to get vaccinated every year. You should also take steps to prevent the spread of the flu, such as washing your hands often and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
If you do show symptoms of the flu, it is important to stay home from work or school and limit your contact with other people. This helps prevent the spread of the flu.
Symptoms of the Flu
It can be hard to know if your high fever and cough are due to the flu, a cold, COVID-19 or even allergies.
The most common symptoms include:
- Dry Cough
- Fatigue Sometimes
- Nasal Congestion
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Shortness of Breath
- Skin Rash/Discoloration
Less-common symptoms include a loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Flu symptoms for children are similar to symptoms in adults, but there are some differences. Symptoms to look for in your children include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, body aches, dry cough, extreme fatigue, headaches, and a high fever with chills.
In some cases, the flu can lead to more serious complications, like pneumonia, which is an infection in one or both lungs. This type of infection can be potentially life-threatening. Severe complications from the flu are more likely to occur in people with certain risk factors, including people who are pregnant, children aged 2 and younger, adults 65 and older, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. People with chronic conditions like asthma, liver disease, or diabetes are also at higher risk of developing complications from the flu.
If you think you or a family member may have the flu, it's important to see a doctor or visit a walk-in clinic, like AdventHealth Centra Care, as soon as you can. Early flu diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of your symptoms and decrease the length of your illness.
What is a Flu Test?
A flu test helps doctors and nurses determine whether you have the flu or not. The most common type of flu test is a rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT). This test works by detecting antigens, the part of the flu virus that triggers your immune response.
Why is it Important to Get a Flu Test?
The flu test is the best way to confirm whether or not you have the flu. If you do have the flu, you can get treatments that help you feel better faster and can help you avoid complications. Flu tests also help public health officials track the spread of the virus.
How is a Flu Test Performed?
Most people who get tested for the flu will receive a rapid flu test. This test is performed by swabbing the inside of your nose. The swab is then placed in a testing kit, which will give your healthcare provider results in just a few minutes.
What are the Benefits of Getting a Flu Test?
Flu tests are important because they can help you and your healthcare provider make decisions about treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of the flu can help you feel better faster and reduce the severity of your symptoms. It can also help prevent complications from the flu. This is especially important in groups that are at higher risk for complications, such as young children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions.
While most people should get a flu shot every year, it isn’t your only option when it comes to flu care. There are also several drugs that are used to treat the flu. These drugs are most effective when taken within the first two days of your illness, so it’s important to get tested and begin treatment quickly.
What Flu Treatments Are Available at Sanford Walk-in Clinics?
There are several flu treatments available, and a medical professional can help you determine which one is right for you. The most common flu treatments are antiviral drugs, which help your body fight viral infections. In the case of the flu, they can reduce the severity of your symptoms and reduce the duration of your infection. There are four drugs that are FDA approved to treat the flu, including oseltamivir phosphate, which is known by the brand name Tamiflu®.
Tamiflu® or a generic alternative is available onsite at most Centra Care locations for just $30. If you test positive for the flu, you can get this flu treatment at all of our Sanford locations without having to go elsewhere.
In addition, your doctor may also recommend fluids, pain relievers or fever reducers to help ease your symptoms. If you have flu-like symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible in order to get the appropriate treatment.
When Should I See a Doctor for Flu Symptoms?
Most people know that the flu can be a serious illness, but many assume that flu symptoms are just something to wait out. In reality, the flu can be deadly, particularly for certain groups like young children and the elderly.
Even if you aren’t part of a vulnerable population, there are antiviral flu treatments that can help you avoid severe symptoms and feel better faster. Visit a walk-in clinic or make an appointment with your doctor today if you are experiencing symptoms of the flu.
What are the Benefits of Getting Flu Treatment?
The flu is a serious respiratory illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Getting prompt medical care is an important way to protect yourself and your loved ones from developing complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
In addition to protecting you from complications, flu treatments can help shorten the duration of your illness and make your symptoms less severe. Flu treatment can also help prevent hospitalization and death. For people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or asthma, getting flu treatment is especially important, as they are at increased risk for complications from the flu.
If you think you may have the flu, make an appointment with your doctor or visit a clinic right away. A doctor will be able to prescribe antiviral medication, which is the most effective type of flu treatment. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptom onset, so see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you have the flu.
Where to Get Tests and Flu Treatment Near You
With more than 50 convenient locations and a wide range of urgent care services, Centra Care is making it easy to get the rapid flu tests and treatments you need. We have several locations in and around Sanford, Florida.
1014 West International Speedway Boulevard
Daytona, FL 32114
2293 South Woodland Boulevard
DeLand, FL 32720
- Orange City
1360 Saxon Boulevard
Orange City, FL 32763
- Ormond Beach
1245 West Granada Boulevard
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
- Port Orange
1208 Dunlawton Avenue
Port Orange, FL 32127
- Altamonte Springs
440 West State Road 436
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
- Lake Mary
2948 West Lake Mary Boulevard
Lake Mary, FL 32746
855 North US Highway 17-92
Longwood, FL 32750
8010 Red Bug Lake Road
Oviedo, FL 32765
4451 West 1st Street
Sanford, FL 32771
- Palm Coast
1270 Palm Coast Parkway Northwest
Palm Coast, FL 32137
1520 West Orange Blossom Trail
Apopka, FL 32712
- Azalea Park
509 South Semoran Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32807
- Colonial Town
630 North Bumby Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
5810 South Semoran Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32822
- Dr. Phillips
8014 Conroy-Windermere Road, Suite 104
Orlando, FL 32835
- Horizon West
9225 Miley Drive, Suite 100
Winter Garden, FL 34787
- Lake Buena Vista
12500 South Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32836
- Lake Nona
9637 Lake Nona Village Place
Orlando, FL 32827
- Lee Road
2540 Lee Road
Winter Park, FL 32789
11001 West Colonial Drive, Suite 110
Ocoee, FL 34761
- Sand Lake
2301 Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32809
- South Orange
2609 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32806
11550 University Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32817
- Waterford Lakes
250 North Alafaya Trail, Suite 135
Orlando, FL 32828
- Winter Garden
3005 Daniels Road
Winter Garden, FL 34787
- Winter Park
3099 Aloma Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32792
- Hunter's Creek
3293 Greenwald Way North
Kissimmee, FL 34741
4320 West Vine Street
Kissimmee, FL 34746
- Orange Lake
8201 West Irlo Bronson Highway
Kissimmee, FL 34747
3759 Pleasant Hill Road
Kissimmee, FL 34746
- St. Cloud
4660 13th Street
Saint Cloud, FL 34769
15701 State Road 50, Suite 101
Clermont, FL 34711
1103 North 14th Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
- Mount Dora
19015 US Highway 441
Mount Dora, FL 32757
- What is the flu?
The flu is a common and very contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses.
- When should I get tested for the flu?
As soon as you can after symptoms begin. Early flu diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of your symptoms and help you feel better faster. In addition, most flu antiviral drugs work better if they’re taken within the first 48 hours of the illness, so it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor quickly. You can also visit a Centra Care walk-in clinic near you, with most locations open in the evenings and on weekends.
- Are flu tests available near me in Sanford?
Yes. Centra Care has more than 37 convenient locations in Central Florida, so you can get a rapid flu test and treatment close to you.
- How are flu tests performed?
A medical professional will swab the inside of your nose. The swab is then placed in a testing kit, which will give your healthcare provider results within a few minutes.
- Are there any treatments for the flu?
Yes. There are several flu treatments available, and a medical professional can help you determine which one is right for you. The most common flu treatments are antiviral drugs, like Tamiflu®, which can help shorten the duration of your illness. In addition, pain relievers and fever reducers can help ease your symptoms.
Our Family Medical Centers Are Here to Help
If you think you may have the flu, it’s important to get tested and start treatment as soon as possible. By getting a flu test and treatment, you help yourself feel better faster. Located throughout Central Florida, Centra Care is here for you and your family through this cold and flu season. Schedule your appointment today or walk-in to your local clinic so we can get you on the road to feeling better soon.