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CDC: Flu cases on the rise, urge people to get vaccinated

Posted at 6:27 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 18:27:47-05

(WTXL) — Flu season has come to Florida and the rest of the country with a vengeance.

And as cases of the flu continue to increase the CDC is urging people to get vaccinated.

"Cough, colds, sore throat, itchy eyes, itchy, and some people have had nausea vomiting and diarrhea," said Chris Kaliszczak, Clinical Manager and Registered Nurse at Southwood ER.

From ages 5 to 80, there's been an increase in people coming to Capital Regional Medical Center's Southwood ER, which opened Nov. 5, with the flu.

"There's been a 50 percent spike in flu since what we were seeing when we first opened," said Kaliszczak.

Being in close proximity with people over the holidays, not washing your hands and not getting the flu vaccine. Doctors say these are the top ways people get the flu, which if left untreated, can be deadly.

"I've seen severe cases of the flu and people requiring intubation, where people have tubes down their throat for people to protect their airways to allow them to breath," said Dr. Jacob Gardner, Physician at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

The CDC says the first line of defense is the flu vaccine and it's never too late to get it.

"We always encourage yearly flu vaccines," said Dr. Gardner.

Dr. Gardner says anytime you think you are coming down with the flu you should contact your doctor.

"If you start having symptoms like respiratory distress, that is a sign to seek immediate medical attention," said Dr. Gardner.

The Florida Department of Health says three children have died this month from the flu, none of them were vaccinated.