Record-breaking flu cases reported in Central Florida, health officials say

Centra Care has treated 783 flu cases at 25 urgent care clinics


PORT ORANGE, Fla. – According to Centra Care, the flu is up 200 percent this year and Dr. Scott VanLue at the Port Orange clinic said every third patient he's seen has tested positive for the virus.

"Most people say they feel like they've been hit by a Mack truck. That's probably the biggest symptom -- you feel horrible," VanLue said.

VanLue told Local 6 that January is usually the height of flu season, but he's seen a spike in cases right now with a wide range of symptoms.

"Runny nose, headache and fever, a lot of congestion, cough, but we're also seeing a lot of gastrointestinal symptoms," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control said the anti-viral prescription drug Tamiflu reduces the duration and severity of the flu by 40 percent, but only if it's taken within the first couple of days.

"It's really effective if you can get it within the first day or two of your symptoms," VanLue said. "After really three days, the Tamiflu really doesn't help in combating the symptoms."

VanLue also recommended getting a flu shot, even if people end contracting the virus later on.

"It's still important to get those shots because it does help combat the majority of the most common four organisms you're going to be exposed to," he said.

The CDC recommends that you get a flu shot once a year starting at 6 months old. This year's flu shot vaccine protects three out of the four most popular strains.

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