ORLANDO, Fla. – Flu season is in full swing: more than 300 to 400 patients tested positive for with influenza in Central Florida clinics.
New numbers released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed between 6.2 and 7.3 million people have developed the flu since October.
Estimates show about half of those flu patients have seen a doctor. In Central Florida, Centra Care locations are seeing an uptick.
"More people are coming into Centra Care with the flu," Dr. Timothy Hendrix, Advent Health medical director said.
Hendrix said people should be on alert for flu symptoms, including congestion, muscle aches, coughing and a high fever. Walk-in clinics provide a rapid flu test that has about an 85 percent sensitivity at detecting the flu within about 10 minutes.
"You can try to avoid it as much as you want, but you're just not going to be able to avoid the virus during flu season," Hendrix said.
Last year an estimated 80,000 people died from complications from the flu. So far doctors are not predicting the same severity this year, but Hendrix warned there are still several months to watch.
"The people you work with, the students at your school, you don't know what's going on with them medically, so they may be at risk, they may have immune deficiency, they may have other issues that put them at higher risk of getting the flu, so stay home," Hendrix said.
It's not too late to get the flu shot, although it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop for protection.