TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Just when you thought you were out of the woods this flu season, some bad news is coming from the Centers for Disease Control.
It’s a grim prediction.
According to the CDC, the flu is likely to increase over the next few weeks.
Doctors at the CDC maintain there’s a 60 percent chance the flu season hasn’t even peaked just yet and the worst is yet to come.
Experts at Tampa General Hospital tell us flu season runs from Oct 1 through March 31.
For many, it seemed as though, compared to last year, this season was tame.
However, with this newest CDC outlook, how can families protect themselves? Is it too late to get a flu shot? Are the shots still effective?
Physicians tell us it’s definitely not too late to get a flu shot.
They encourage people to get a shot now in order to be protected, although it usually takes two weeks for the shot to be fully effective.
Is everyone heeding the warning?
For Floridians, the increase in warm, sunny weather has some people feeling a false sense of security.
TGH experts warn don’t let the 80 degree beach weather fool you. The flu is active right now, regardless of temperature.
“When the weather does start warming up, flu does decrease,” says longtime registered nurse, Nancy Epps.
“But, it still doesn’t totally go away. We have flu cases that go all the way into May and even in the summertime, there is still some flu hanging around.”
Epps, who currently works at TGH, has been a registered nurse for 28 years. She tells WFLA she’s never seen anything quite like the flu season from last year where 80,000 people died, according to the CDC.
“Last year was bad,” Epps said. “This year, we’re seeing more respiratory illness cases. But, we’re still seeing cases of the flu.”
Many people are asking, why was last year so bad compared to this year?
Turns out, last year’s flu shot was only 38 percent effective.
This year, the shots are much more effective, experts say.
“The best course of action is good respiratory practice. Wash your hands. If you sneeze, try to sneeze into your sleeve or into a tissue, then dispose of it,” said Epps.
“And, of course, get the flu shot. It’s not too late.”