Hospital report: Flu on the rise in SWFL

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The number of people infected with the flu in Southwest Florida has nearly tripled in the past two weeks, according to Lee Memorial Health Systems.

Just last week, 80 people caught the viral illness, health professionals said. They are not taking the spike lightly.

“Influenza can be dangerous for anyone, but it’s particularly dangerous for children under 2 and for adults over 65,” said Dr. Mary Beth Saunders.”People can become very sick or they can even die. It’s a very serious illness.”

influenza graph

Lee Memorial Health Systems said the flu becomes more prevalent around this time of year.

“The spike happens because people tend to spend more time inside in close community with each other during the winter months,” said.

To avoid getting sick, be diligent about washing your hands and use hand sanitizer, Dr. Mary Beth Saunders suggests. If one does become infected, he or she should seek medication quickly.

“TamiFlu will reduce your symptomatology and it decreases the viral load. And it will shorten the duration of your flu episode,” Doug Peterson, a pharmacist, said.

The flu will make another comeback after this winter spike resides, Dr. Saunders said.

“Usually by February, we’ll see it trend down and then see another little spike around spring break and Easter,” she said.

The flu usually is experienced with a high bodily temperature and body aches. Those symptoms are not usually paired with the cold.

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