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Cases of the flu and RSV continue to rise as we approach the holiday season

Influenza is hitting the U.S. unusually early and very hard. The NY Times reports that we are seeing the most hospitalizations at this point in the season in more than a decade, “underscoring the potential for a perilous winter of respiratory viruses,” according to recent federal health data.

Get your flu shot now

“Getting the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself,” says Dr. Raymond James, D.O., Medical Director at the Boca Grande Health Clinic. “And if you haven’t already been vaccinated this year, the best time to do it is now.”

The Clinic is running weekly drive-thru vaccination clinics for registered patients. If you are interested in getting a flu shot or COVID-19 booster, call the Clinic at 941-964-2276 to register for a time slot for an upcoming clinic.

RSV is dangerous for adults, too

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) infections are surging across the United State. RSV mostly impacts children, and by 2 years of age we all have been exposed. We can get it multiple times during our lifetime but it’s usually no more serious than a cold. “We treat it more like rhinovirus (common cold) in that if someone has a runny nose, cough and symptoms of a cold,” Dr. James tells us. “They should mask and follow good hand washing hygiene so we can lower risk of transmission to others.”

Immunocompromised patients and pulmonary disease patients (people suffering from COPD, asthma, lung cancer, etc.) are at higher risk to become significantly ill from any viral or bacterial agent. Recent data show RSV hospitalization rate for seniors is 10 times higher than usual for this point in the season.

With this in mind, the Clinic is taking extra precautions to be especially cautious about patient exposures in our waiting room or exam rooms. Masks are on hand and will be provided to those with suspected symptoms. If you plan to visit the Clinic and think you may have been exposed, please let us know in advance so we can best prepare for your appointment.

RSV tests provide rapid results

Contributions from the Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation provided the Clinic with new technology that allows us to perform a four-in-one rapid test to detect SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A, Influenza B and RSV on premise. It’s a simple nasal swab and test results are available in under 40 minutes.

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