Get your tissues and throat lozenges ready. Flu season is here and even sunny Florida is feeling the effects. According to the Florida Department of Health, at the beginning of the season Influenza B Victoria lineage viruses were most predominant, type A 2009 H1N1 has taken over as the most common strain detected in sick patients. H1N1 is also known as swine flu.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates swine flu has been responsible for infecting over 60 million people in the US between 2009-2010. Of the millions affected, 12,469 deaths are estimated to have occurred during that time alone.

As reported by the Florida Department of Health, this month has seen the highest level of state-wide flu activity observed so far this season, which is still expected to elevate over the next several weeks.

However, the number of deaths associated with the flu has decreased from the previous week and seasons

For Florida, the typical flu season runs from October to May.

From February 2-8 twenty-nine outbreaks were reported across the state, 19 of which were Influenza-like illnesses (ILI). 

The chart below shows the outbreak activity by county, reported as of February 8, 2020.

It's important to note that flu symptoms are similar but generally more severe than that of the common cold. The CDC states that the cold does not generally lead to serious health problems, whereas the flu is associated with more complications. 

While it is impossible to completely avoid getting sick, the CDC and Florida Department of Health both recommend flu vaccines as a preventative measure.

Publix is among one of the many pharmacies throughout the state offering no-appointment-necessary flu vaccines (plus an added incentive of $10 store gift card). More information can be found here

To view the entire Florida influenza report for week 6 here. Week 7 (February 10-14) should be coming out soon.