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Flu activity on the rise in Florida

16 flu deaths in Salt Lake County, Utah this season
Posted at 6:18 AM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 06:23:24-05

INDIANTOWN, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health is reporting increased flu activity that is above the level at this time in previous years.

Flu activity is “particularly elevated” in children for this time in the season as well, according to health leaders.

Hand washing and the flu vaccine are the best ways to keep you and your family healthy.

On Thursday night, the Florida Department of Health in Martin County is offering free flu shots for children and adults who are 4 years old and older. The shots will be offered at the health department clinic at 16401 SW Farm Rd. in Indiantown from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. while supplies last. You do not need to make an appointment.

In the past week, the health department reported nine outbreaks, down from 18 outbreaks reported during the previous week. Of the nine outbreaks reported, five were influenza-associated, and four were an influenza-like illness. The majority of outbreaks continue to be reported in facilities serving children.

Most county health departments reported mild activity. That’s the case for Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. Okeechobee County reports no activity, and Palm Beach County has what is considered moderate activity.

Dr. Marc Baumgard, an Emergency Room Physician for Good Samaritan Medical Center, says they are seeing about three to five cases a day. He says it is important to treat within the first 48 hours.

"It is an upper respiratory infection, so it spreads by respiratory droplets. If you suspect that you have the flu or someone in your house has the flu, it's simple to go to the pharmacy and get masks that you can use to protect yourself. It's a viral infection so if you're a healthy person, you don't necessarily need to come to the emergency room. You can treat it at home with fluids, rest, there's over the counter preparations that have multi-symptom treatment that will treat most of the symptoms until your body is able to get rid of the disease itself," said Baumgard.

Click here to check the latest flu report and activity in Florida.