“Uncharacteristically low” number of flu cases on Suncoast as U.S. nears season peak


SARASOTA (WWSB) - After last year’s deadly flu season, Floridians are faring far better in the beginning of 2019.

Doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital call this flu season “uncharacteristically low” for the area. Only 9% of the 450 patients tested for influenza at SMH in December had the virus.

While Florida’s flu season isn’t as severe as 2017-2018, other areas in the U.S. aren’t as lucky.

“All of the states that are bordering Florida have a high incidents of flu right now so if you’re traveling that’s something to think about,” explained Diana Krblich, M.D., Urgent Care Physician at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Krblich says the peak of flu season is in February.

Be cautious and be prepared while traveling. Doctors say the flu virus can live on hard surfaces like airplane tray tables for 24 hours, and recommend keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby throughout the duration of your flight.

While at home and traveling, the C.D.C. says you can protect yourself by washing your hands regularly. Remember, your smart phone is a magnet for germs. Those pesty little buggers also hang out on doorknobs and keyboards.

“If you go to the grocery store or supermarket, use wipes, hand sanitizer for anything that you touch,” explained Dr. Krblich.

Dr. Krblich says the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated, but it takes about two weeks to kick in before providing protection.

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