Flu outbreak continues to peak in Florida and the Suncoast

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - As Florida continues to battle one of the worst flu season in years, Greg Wollaston is one of the lucky ones.

"No one else in my family has gotten it, i haven't gotten it...I believe in it."

He made sure he and his family were prepared by way of a flu shot.

"As a matter of public health and my own personal health and the well being of my children, I definitely recommend getting the flu shot every year,"

And the Florida Department of Health Recommends the same thing. recent numbers say flu activity is increasing sharply in all regions of the state with 61 of the 67 counties reporting increased cases of the flu. Sarasota and Manatee counties are still seeing moderate activity. Sarasota County's Disease Intervention Program Manager Michael Drennon says the flu shot even this late in the game may be your best bet.

"you get the shot, you get exposed to the flu...you don't get ill."

"It already has exposed your immune system to this virus, so even if you do get sick, your symptoms can be milder."

"This year it's an h3n2. still a flu virus, just a little bit different."

Drennon says it's unusual to see flu activity blanket all areas of the country at the same time. He also points to a peak coming later in the season.

"the hard thing with flu seasons is that they are very difficult to predict. it's hard to say when we expect it to peak or when we expect it to end."

And with this particular strain, CAN Community Health Registered Nurse Kacee Homer says the vaccine is not a home run.

"It gets around the immune system in a different manner so usually on a good year the flu vaccination is 60-percent effective, that percentage drops significantly with this particular strain."

Homer's advice, if you do have any symptoms of the flu, take precautions.

"Stay home. Launder your linens frequently. Keep your area as clean as possible, clean your hands, hydrate, rest and take any medications that your doctor prescribes for you."