12 UF Shands patients died of flu since October

CDC recommends 3 steps to avoid flu

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida's top doctors are warning citizens about the flu. Physicians at UF Health in Gainesville announced Thursday that they have seen the number of flu cases and deaths from the flu spike in recent months.

According to UF Health, the spike in influenza-related hospitalizations is similar to the pattern of severe flu cases already seen by the Centers for Disease Control in multiple cities across the country.

UF Health said since late October, their Gainesville hospital has seen more than 150 flu admissions and a dozen deaths from the virus.

Medical experts are especially concerned with the number of younger patients susceptible to this strain of the H1N1 flu, which first surfaced in 2009.

One local doctor says this increase is indirectly related to the coldest months of the year.

"The cold weather probably does not cause an increase in influenza," said Dr. Mobeen Rathore. "When you have cold weather you're staying inside, you're staying close, somebody who has it has a better chance of transmitting it to somebody who's next to them."

The CDC recommends three steps to fight the flu. First, the CDC recommends everyone to get vaccinated against the flu. Secondly, everyday preventative actions will help the spread of germs. The CDC urges people to wash their hands often and make sure to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze during flu season.

Finally, the CDC said people with the flu should stay home and make sure to see a doctor to get the proper medicine to treat the virus.

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