Healthcare officials: Flu season getting worse

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Flu season is getting worse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the good news is that it's not too late to get a flu shot.

Doctors and nurses around town said over and over again that the flu is still going around. That's why getting the vaccine is more important than ever.

Starting in Duval County, from Normandy to the Southside CareSpot, the staff says they're seeing anywhere from 45 to 55 patients a day testing positive for the flu. What's concerning, though, is that they're not seeing anywhere near as many people coming in for their flu vaccines.

In Clay County at the Care Spot in Middleburg the office has mainly been packed with strep throat patients, and those with a sinus infection.

In St. Johns County, the Care Spot in St. Augustine has had three cases of the flu this week. At the Healing Arts Urgent care center, what's really kept them busy is a viral stomach bug that lasts up to three days. It's been affecting kids and adults. Doctors said if you have it, you need to stick to clear fluids and the BRAT diet until your symptoms get better. That means, bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

In Nassau County, the Care Spot in Yulee, is busy handing out flu shots and treating patients with sinus infections and a winter cold.

The message from doctors is clear: We're in for a rough flu season. Just as a reminder, the latest CDC report  says the strain known as H-3-N-2 is what seems to cause the more severe symptoms.

Here's how we compare to the rest of the nation:

Flu is most widespread in the northwest -- California, Washington, and Idaho. On the East coast, Georgia, South Carolina, and New York are some of the states getting hit the hardest. So even though we're not doing as bad as the rest of the country, it doesn't mean it's time to let your guard down.

Get your flu shot now and avoid missing work or school. You never known when it'll hit and since more people have not been getting vaccinated, that could make the flu spread even faster.

According to the CDC, other ways to reduce your risk include: avoiding close contact with anyone that is sick, staying home when you're ill, covering your mouth when you sneeze, washing your hands often, and cleaning or disinfecting. 

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