TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The flu epidemic continues throughout the country, with one county in Florida cancelling classes.
Teachers, students, and staff in Gulf County were asked to stay home Friday while a thorough cleaning and sanitation was being done.
It starts with body aches, a cough, fever and chills and before you know it, it's progressed into the flu.
"Most people will start feeling some of the body aches, maybe a low grade fever that progresses into a higher fever," says Allison Castillo, the director of emergency services at Capital Regional Medical Center. "Then they start to get more of the cough and upper respiratory congestion within about 12 to 24 hours. By 48 hours, they're usually feeling it pretty much."
The flu is extremely contagious, and has spread very quickly throughout the country, as well as local school districts.
"It seems as though about 800 to 1,000 people are calling out this year, this week, compared to the same week last year," explains Chris Petley, the spokesperson for Leon County Schools. "Now, we don't keep track if people are sick with the flu or visiting an aunt, but we can say that it's probably a high percentage that a lot of those folks are dealing with the flu just like everywhere else in the county."
This major flu outbreak is causing people to take extra precautions for their safety, from handing out masks in hospitals, to closing school districts, and even wiping down additional surfaces within the classrooms.
"We are also stepping up our maintenance with our folks in the facilities within our campuses to ensure that we're disinfecting doorknobs and we're cleaning as much as possible," says Petley. "We're asking our staff to make sure they're washing they're hands."
Although students and staff alike are dealing with the flu in Leon County, Petley says that schools will remain open.
Leon County Schools knows that it can be hard to take off work to stay home with a sick child, but they urge parents to keep their kids home if they are ill, have a fever, or have vomited within 24 hours.