ORLANDO, Fla. – Doctors in Central Florida are seeing an increase in flu cases across the area.
MedExpress Urgent Care says it has seen a 6 percent rise in flu cases in Florida over the last two weeks. That's the largest increase of any of the 18 states covered by the chain.
Centra Care also reports more cases of the flu in recent weeks at local locations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the strain of the flu that's dominating this season is leading to more hospitalizations for children and older adults. CDC officials added that vaccines could be less effective this year.
Experts said there are some measures you can take to protect yourself.
Wash your hands thoroughly. Using warm water and soap, rub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds while washing around cuticles, beneath fingernails and in the creases of your hands. Then rinse thoroughly. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used for times when soap and water aren't available.
Contain your coughs and sneezes. To avoid getting germs on your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow.
Avoid crowds as much as possible. Use separate personal items in your home. Don't share utensils, glasses or plates with others, and use separate towels in the bathroom.
"If, despite your best efforts, you still get sick this season, stay home until your symptoms resolve or for at least 24 hours if you're taking an antibiotic. This is an effective way to avoid spreading your illness to others," nurse Alice Bachop said. "It's also a good idea to throw away any toothbrushes or other personal items that could be hosting your germs."