MAITLAND, Fla. -

Santa visited Centra Care with what he thought was a cold.

Fortunately for Santa, Centra Care physicians completed a rapid Influenza test, catching his symptoms early and prescribing anti-Influenza medicine which can considerably shorten the duration of the flu.

Doctors urge that it is important to understand antiviral medication must be taken within 48 hours of the first appearance of flu symptoms.

Doctors said flu season usually peaks in January, but just in the last three weeks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have seen a significant increase in flu cases all across the U.S.

In Central Florida, Centra Care physicians started seeing flu cases as early as October and even saw an overall increase of 62% in adult cases just last month, officials said.

Officials said this year’s flu contains the N3N2 strain, which typically causes more severe symptoms and health risks than most other circulating strains.

The good news is that this year’s flu vaccine is a 90% match for the flu strains going around, including protection against N3N2, doctor's said.

Centra Care physicians warn that the current Influenza outbreak will likely get worse over the next couple weeks.   

Influenza symptoms often mimic those of a cold, but unlike a cold, the flu can be extremely dangerous. Typical Influenza symptoms include muscle aches, fever, headache, cough, and lethargy, doctors said.

Centra Care physicians advise the public to:

Practice Flu Prevention – Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.  Keep your hands away from your face.  If you haven’t already done so – get a flu shot immediately.

Get Your Flu Shot Now – Once you receive the flu shot, it takes your body about 2 weeks to reach maximum immunity. Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated.

 

Protect Those at High-Risk - A flu shot is the single best protection against the flu. It will help protect you, and anyone that is at high-risk for developing flu-related complications. Including:

-Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

- Vaccination is also important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high-risk people.

- Children younger than 6 months are at high-risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.