Tampa Bay ranked 6th on flu ‘hot spot’ list

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (WFLA) — A new report from doctors ranks the Tampa Bay area as one of the nation’s top flu hot spots.

According to DoctorsReport.com, our area is ranked sixth in the nation when it comes to the flu.

Tampa Bay flu map (Source: DoctorsReport.com)

“We’ve been having record volumes at After Hours Pediatrics,” Dr. Lou Romig said. “Our record so far was this past Saturday at all seven clinics – two in South Florida and five here – we saw 441 patients.”

The majority of those patients had complaints of flu-like symptoms.

“In this case, it is not a good thing to be ranked in the top ten. It certainly reflects the fact that we’ve been seeing an incredible density of either the flu or other viral illnesses that can cause flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Romig.

While there’s no sign of the flu slowing down, doctors recommend not rushing to the doctor’s office if you’ve only been sick for a few hours.

“It takes time for the body to generate responses to any kind of infection and for the infection to generate a chemical reaction that we are looking for with our tests. There is such a thing as being too early,” said Dr. Romig.

One thing it’s not too early or too late for is the flu shot.

“We are starting to see kids who now have had two flu episodes in this season. Just because you’ve had the flu once, that only means you’ve had one strain,” Dr. Romig said.

While the vaccine hasn’t been overly successful this year, doctors are urging everyone to get it.

“If you do get the flu, it can minimize the symptoms that you get and it certainly can help you from transmitting the flu to other people,” said Dr. Romig.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, he says, because there’s a lot of time left in this flu season.

“We’re planning to be slammed at least until February,” Dr. Romig said. “The CDC is saying it’s probably going to take at least until April. That is a long time from now.”

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