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Doctors seeing more sickness across Tampa Bay, gear up for wave of winter infections

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Posted at 7:39 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 08:14:42-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Whether it’s a cold, COVID-19, a stomach bug, or the flu, an onslaught of sickness is making its way around Tampa Bay.

“I would always recommend just reach out to the healthcare provider if you are not sure,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associated Professor for the University of South Florida College of Public Medicine.

Doctors say it’s just that time of year when people get sick, and this year may be worse since we were socially distancing for so long.

Lots of kids are getting sick right now too.

“With little kids this time of year they’re going to get an awful lot of colds and colds that occur in the absence of fever and in the absence of loss of smell and things that are really indicative of flu and or COVID,” said Roberts.

Don’t forget you can always take a home test before going to the doctor.

“There are rapid tests for COVID. There are rapid tests for flu. They may sell out so be aware of that,” said Roberts.

Experts say if it’s just a common cold, no big deal, but if it’s something more it’s important to know what it is.

“Some people may say, why do I care? They’re treated differently,” said Roberts.

Doctors tell us washing hands frequently and wearing face masks in indoor crowded spaces can help keep you healthy, but when it comes to taking extra vitamins this time of year it may not do much.

“In the U.S. we fortify our foods with vitamins so for the most part we get a lot of vitamin out of the actual food that we eat,” said Roberts.

“There’s some anecdotal evidence that would say that vitamin C and zinc might help protect you against certain types of infections or maybe shorten the lengths of infections. It’s not going to hurt,” she added.

Doctors warn it’s not good to take extra doses of every vitamin.

“Depending on what it is, it’s unlikely to do damage but some things can. Take a lot of care with vitamin D. You don’t need more of it,” said Roberts.