Brevard County health officials concerned over rise in flu cases



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Health officials in Brevard County are concerned about a drastic rise in the number of flu cases. They are putting out a call for more people to get flu shots before the season peaks.

Right now, three flu patients in the county are in critical condition, including a pregnant woman, and two people are on life support.

County health officials said these past few weeks are when the flu really started to come on strong. They said the best advice is to get a flu shot.

"Most of the flu we are seeing now is H1N1," said Dr. Heidar Heshmati, director of the Brevard County Health Department.

H1N1 -- the so-called swine flu that was part of a big outbreak in 2009 -- has been making the rounds again.

"Every year we see more than 30,000 people die because of the flu in the U.S.," said Heshmati.

Heshmati said hand-washing and good hygiene are important, but the best way to prevent flu is getting a flu shot.

Heshmati recommends a shot for anyone age 6 months and older.

He said it's not too late in the season to get it, and it includes protection against H1N1.

"It's not an expensive shot. They can protect themselves, the family, and also the community," said Heshmati.

The flu vaccine is readily available at clinics and places like Walgreens in central Florida.

Channel 9 found that most places offer the flu shot for around $30 and many insurance companies will cover that cost.