A Flu Q&A with UF Health Shands Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Nicole Iovine, M.D.

A Flu Q&A with UF Health Shands Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Nicole Iovine, M.D.

We’ve had over 400 positive cases of flu
that we have seen here at UF health. That is a lot more than what we’ve seen in
prior seasons. About a quarter of those people are ill enough to be admitted to
our hospitals but that also means that three quarters of people actually can be
sent home to recuperate at home with antiviral medication. Every year flu
peaks at a different month you know so for example two years ago at peak in
March you know. So I would say during the peak month for flu, we would see perhaps
300, maybe 350, I think might have been our last peak our highest peak prior to
this year, recognizing though that the month is not over and we’ve already had
over 400 so this is the most we’ve seen in quite some time. Influenza is a little bit different from
a lot of other respiratory infections because it often comes on you very
suddenly. So people sometimes can even say, “I was feeling fine,” and then after
lunch, “I’ve had the chills, the shakes and I felt terrible.”
That’s pretty characteristic of influenza infection. People who even have
a little bit of a slower onset will oftentimes get worse pretty rapidly and
that’s very different from the common cold, for example. So other symptoms that
go along with it would be coughing, sneezing. You can have a runny nose. You
could have a fever. Not everyone has fever though, body aches, headache.
Some people will also have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea as well. So you can
be pretty miserable when you get the flu. We’re going to restrict the number of
visitors that a patient can have. And the reason for this is that we want to try
to limit the number of people who might be infected with flu from coming into
the hospital. Flu is a really tricky virus in that you can be infectious. In
other words, you could transmit influenza infection a full 24 hours before you
have symptoms. So that means if you look to your left look to your right the
people around you, one of them could be incubating flu right now and feel
perfectly fine and could be transmitting it. So that’s the reason why we really
want to limit the number of visitors that are coming into the hospital. We are
also encouraging people to wear masks when they are in the hospital as well
because that will also help to cut down on flu transmission. If you come to the
hospital though and you are visibly ill and you are not there as a patient but
you’re accompanying of a patient, we’re going to ask you please not to visit.
Because again, we are trying to limit the spread of flu. We’re going to also
restrict the visitation by children in the hospital. And there’s a few reasons
for that. Children can transmit the flu just like adults can as well but it’s
very difficult to get especially small children to wear a mask properly just
because they’re there their heads, their faces are smaller as well. And again, in
order to keep people as safe as possible we want to to limit that. Another big part of trying to prevent
the transmission of flu is going to be hand hygiene. So in numerous places throughout the hospitals and throughout the hospital
units, we have alcohol dispensers for hand gel. And so using this hand gel is
going to also help reduce the spread of flu since we know it can be transmitted
in that way as well. If you haven’t been vaccinated for flu
but you got the flu you, should still get vaccinated. Because like I said, depending
on which vaccine you get you had, there’s between three and four vaccine strains
in it. And when you get the flu you just get one so you’re still at risk for
getting one of the other ones that are out there. And we’ve seen that in the
past, people getting flu more than once in a season because they’re getting
infected with a different strain that’s circulating. The other thing that
vaccination does for you is it lessens the severity of the illness. And this has
been shown in a lot of different studies. So that could be the difference between
being able to take a pill and go home versus having to be admitted because
your breathing is so impaired. So vaccination is is really important not
just to prevent flu but to decrease the severity of it.

2 thoughts on “A Flu Q&A with UF Health Shands Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Nicole Iovine, M.D.

  1. False. Shands Medical refuses infectious Dr appts without referrals; even with people that have insurance that does NOT require referrals. Refusing infectious drs to hurricane survivors, and people with severest diahrea during the FLORIDA hepatitis outbreak, that is esp high in Gville and Ocala. This block of time, dignified access is a HUGE, public health risk. Shands also refuses to give or even SHOW labwork at hospital or Dr offices. The online portal is bullcrap, as is impossible for legal blind, and ones without tech to do, and does not give FULL RECORDS. The Dr offices and hospital even refuse the forms to request patient records. The patient is SO CUT out of your inhumane, high risk formula. Trying to limit the spread of flu?…bahhhh…talk is cheap and FALSE ADVERTISING.

  2. Not spread transmissions? Sanitizer was out in multi stations, not one Dr or nurse washed their hands, prior or after severe diahrea patient, not even infectious tested the patient. This place is fraud.

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