Sick Season Bringing More Than Just the Flu to the Suncoast

Flu Season

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Urgent cares are starting to see more and more patients come in with flu-like symptoms. It’s a reminder to get your flu shots, but doctors are now warning that it’s not just influenza that they’re seeing so far this year.

“We’ve had an influx of people come in with respiratory illnesses like cough and cold, and we’ve had a number of different flu-viruses around that are typical to come in at this time of year like RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Virus,” Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan, from the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Urgent Care, tells us.

Health officials are stressing the importance of healthy practices when visiting public places across the Suncoast – especially because of the consistent cooler weather we’re experiencing.

“The viruses tend to thrive more and get stronger at his time of the year. We are expecting that we might have a higher number of cases this year,” Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan explained.

One common question that doctors have been getting is… if you get a flu shot, are you safe this season?

“No. The answer is no. The flu shots do not prevent RSV or the other common cold viruses,” Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan said.

The ones like RSV – are highly contagious for up to eight days.

“It’s like a droplet. Usually when you talk, when you sneeze, when you cough, it easily gets to you. A lot of these viruses do stick to hard surfaces for several hours,” said Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan.

So, how can you prevent getting those other illnesses?

“The common things that we already know, but a lot of people seldom practice. Hand washing.. we can never overemphasize handwashing,” Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan explained.

Plus, not sharing drinks or items with other people and making sure everything you touch is cleaned beforehand.

Even worse than the flu, respiratory illness – especially for the elderly and infants – can be extremely dangerous if not taken care of.

“Complications such as pneumonia and respiratory distress and failure can happen, so it’s really important for a parent or guardian to watch for signs of it,” said Dr. Todora Carolyn Bayindiryan.

While Florida’s flu season isn’t as severe as last years, other areas in the United States aren’t as lucky. All of the states that are bordering Florida have a high incidents of the flu right now, so if you’re traveling, that’s something to be cautious about.

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