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Free flu clinic for families in need

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-27 22:53:38-05

NAPLES, Fla. -- The Collier County Health Department gave out 250 bottles of hand sanitizer and 512 flu vaccinations, Saturday, in hopes of keeping the high number of outbreaks this season from increasing. 

“It’s very important to treat it right away, because there’s a window of opportunity for the medication to work," said Cindy Whetshell, the Executive Nursing Director of Collier County Health. 

Whetshell says symptoms such as high fever, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, and stomach aches are signs a patient could have the flu. She says younger children are more susceptible to getting sick which explained the hundreds of families that showed up. 

“It’s got us all nervous, so we definitely rushed to get down here as soon as we could," said Mike Pynnonen, a clinic patient and father of two small children. “My fear with the kiddos is that they can’t really communicate what they’re feeling so you don’t really know how severe it could be.” 

According to the Florida Department of Health, flu cases has increased significantly from years past. Just this week they reported 159 outbreaks and they say it hasn’t hit peak season yet.

The packed house, Saturday, led to the health clinic running out of child vaccines, leaving parents like Pynnonen, to believe too many families have waited too long to get their shots. 

"It’s procrastination - Hoping that it wasn’t going to bad and it was, so here we are.”

The nursing staff tells Fox 4 there will be another clinic Sunday at Immokalee's Department of Health at 419 North First Street. It will be held from noon to 3 p.m. and child vaccines will be available.