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Flu cases spike as temperatures drop

Posted at 12:46 AM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 07:55:50-05

Experts say the 2017-2018 flu season is seeing more cases than this time last year, and could mean a worse flu season ahead when it comes to the number of cases.

The entire country is seeing a spike in the number of flu cases and Southwest Florida is no exception.

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County said peak flu season is typically in February, but we're seeing it now.

"We're seeing a pretty large spike in cases over the last two weeks," Jennifer Roth, the department's Epidemiologist said.

Lee Health reported similar numbers at their facilities. From December 25-31, the hospital system saw over 250 cases of Influenza A and nearly 350 cases of Influenza B. These numbers are more than last season's peak number of cases.

Roth said the cold weather Southwest Florida has been seeing could also impact flu cases.

"You're inside so your germs have no where to go except infect the other people in your house," she said.

Gulf Coast Village, a retirement community in Cape Coral,  said they're taking extra precautions this flu season since elderly are some of the most vulnerable to the flu.

"We're cleaning and disinfecting not only our common spaces, but all the rooms our residents are using," Senior Executive Director Kevin Ahmadi said. "At each of the entrances, we have {a stand} set up where we have the hand sanitizers, masks, and tissues."

They also offer flu vaccinations for residents and staff. 

The Centers for Disease Control reports vaccines are only 10% effective at preventing the flu this season.

"Even if it doesn't protect you from actually getting the infection, it'll prevent you from getting so sick you have to go to the hospital," Roth said.

If you feel like you're coming down with the flu, experts remind you to stay home from work or school and get tested for the flu. To prevent the sickness, Roth recommends washing your hands regularly.