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Experts say this year's flu season is the worst in a decade

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 18:48:46-05

SOUTHWEST Fla. --- The numbers continue to climb for the 2018 flu season.

"This is one of the heaviest flu season in over a decade," said T.J. DePaola, a pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy in Fort Myers.

DePaola says one of the reasons why this year's flu has hit Southwest Florida so hard is because of the amount of travel this region gets.

"It's tough because you have so much tourism here that they're bringing different strains from all over the country and that's what makes it difficult to treat," said DePaola.

DePaola says it's not too late to get the flu shot. The shot protects against the most prevalent strains experts expect for that particular season.

"A lot of doctors are recommending if you haven't gotten the flu shot to go ahead and get it," he said.

The flu mist is another option, but DePaola says it's not as effective as other treatments like Tamiflu. He says it might be tricky to get Tamiflu because there's a shortage.

"The times when you have a huge break out of the flu, it becomes difficult to get the product," he said.

However, DePaola says not to panic. He recommends you to make some calls to see who has it in stock. He even thinks it might be worth a drive to get it.

"It's worth getting it," said DePaola, "The sooner you can get it, you can knock the flu out pretty quickly," he added.

It's possible to treat the flu within a 72 hour window. If you wait longer, you'll have to treat the symptoms instead.

"Full-bodied aches, the cough, and the fever," said DePaola. "The fever is the big one to look for," he added.

He says good hand washing can help cut down your risk of coming down with the flu.

"I wouldn't panic," said DePaola. "I would just be very diligent as far as washing your hands, touching door handles, and carts at grocery markets.