2018 Winter Influenza Season

Alachua County is facing a challenging flu season. Our efforts at UF Health support the health of our community. We are prepared to manage a high volume of patients and are seeing large numbers with flu-like symptoms. Given the high volume of patients relying on our E.R.s, there may be extended wait times for those who are not in critical condition.

Where to seek help

If you feel unwell, please contact your primary care provider to schedule an appointment and seek treatment as needed.

Another option is to visit an urgent care center such as CareSpot or other centers. Urgent and walk-in care centers have the ability to treat patients with flu as well as other respiratory infections.

Patients in potentially critical condition, such as those who have underlying serious conditions, can seek care in an E.R., including freestanding E.R.s. If you are in critical condition and having trouble breathing, please call 911.


Unlike with many other respiratory viruses, the onset of flu can happen quickly and symptoms worsen often within a few hours.

You may have flu and need medical treatment if you have the following symptoms:

  • coughing, sneezing
  • headache, body aches or fever
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

When you seek care from a health care provider, please ask for a mask upon arrival to help prevent the spread of infection. (See below for other tips.)

Please note: Patients scheduled for any procedure or infusion who have these symptoms should advise their provider in advance that they are sick.

UF Health visitation and mask advisories

At UF Health, we are asking visitors to please follow these precautions to help us protect our patients, visitors and staff at UF Health.

Visitation Advisory

We have a temporary change to visitation at UF Health Shands hospitals. Limiting visitors helps us reduce the risk of infection during flu season. People who are visibly ill are asked not to visit patient units.

Our guidelines at this time allow:

  • Only two designated visitors per patient (wristbands will be provided)
  • Only children over age 12 may visit adult patients
  • No children under age 18 may visit pediatric patients

We’re reminding everyone to practice excellent infection control by washing your hands, using hand sanitizer frequently and covering coughs and sneezes (with your arm/elbow, not hands).

Mask Advisory

UF Health also has a new mask advisory in place at this time.

  • All visitors must wear a mask while on our patient units.
  • Masks and instructions will be provided.
  • Apply a mask before entering the unit; remove upon leaving the unit.

Thank you for sharing this information to help promote community health.


Additional trusted sources of information include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2017-2018 Flu Season

  • What you need to know
  • Prevention, symptoms & diagnosis, treatment
  • Information for schools, businesses & travelers
  • Flu news & spotlights
  • Resources

The Florida Department of Health - Influenza

  • Florida Flu Review
  • Updated flu activity, influenza surveillance
  • Flu prevention
  • Respiratory illness prevention

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