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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fla. experiences moderate flu spread, local shots still available

For Ashlee Larranore, flu season is nothing to worry about. Her last serious run-in with the disease was two weeks during her sophomore year of high school, and she relies on her strong immune system not to get sick.

“I just feel like I’m in good enough health to not have to get a flu shot this year,” Larranore said.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly summary, flu activity in the U.S. remains high and will continue to rise for the next couple of weeks.

Forty-six states experienced widespread flu epidemics during the first week of the year. Compared to other states, Florida has reported a moderate amount of cases, according to the summary.

Patient visits to the doctor for flu treatment and flu-like symptoms are almost at the same peak as during the 2012-2013 season. 

Despite the increase of infectious disease, the UF Student Health Care Center reported a drop of students visiting the center since Thanksgiving.

Catherine Seemann, the communications coordinator for the center, said since it started offering vaccinations for students in October 2014, about 8,000 have been distributed. The center still offers flu shots for free to UF students.

Seemann strongly suggests all students protect themselves against the flu this semester. While the health center offers free shots to all UF students, she said other medical centers and pharmacies like CVS Health, Walgreens and local doctors’ offices also have shots available.

Even if a student doesn’t have time to come by the center for a free shot, most health insurance companies cover the flu shot, she added.

The center offers flu shots to UF students from 8 to 11:45 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Another recent report by the CDC shows that current vaccinations may not work as well against some other flu strains that have appeared this season. The CDC still recommends immediate antiviral vaccination to protect against less severe strains.

“We recommend that all students get their flu shots as soon as possible,” Seemann said. “It can really make a difference.”

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[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 1/14/2015 under the headline “Fla. experiences moderate flu spread, local shots still available"]

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