Major Flu Outbreak In Central Florida

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CENTRAL FLORIDA,None - There is a major outbreak of the flu in Central Florida and even doctors said they were astounded by the number of people getting sick. This week, doctors at Florida Hospital Centra Care saw 17 times their usual number of flu patients.

The flu is spreading and people are suffering and walk-in clinics like Centra Care have been busy.

"I had mine for about 10 days, body aches, headaches, sore throat, little bit of fever," said patient Natalie Diaz.

"At Centra Care we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of flu cases," Dr. Tim Hendrix of Centra Care said.

Dr. Hendrix said in early December, Centra Care was seeing about 20 flu cases a week, and the past 7 days they've seen 340 people with the flu.

"It's been a substantial increase. I'd say we're pretty much into an epidemic type of flu scenario now," Hendrix said.

That's why Hendrix said now is the time to get the flu shot even though it may take your body a week or two build up immunities after getting the shot.

Flu season could last another 10 weeks or more. This year it's hitting hard and a month earlier than typically seen in Central Florida.

Diaz said she wasn't surprised. She and her daughter have already been sick.

"I'm in a mommy's group. A lot of their kids are having it and it just keeps going through the families," Diaz said.

Doctors say using anti-viral medications like Tamiflu may help kick the flu, as long as you take it within 48 hours of feeling sick. After that, the drug isn't as effective and that's why getting to a doctor early is key.

"I never get the flu, because I get the flu shot every year," Central Florida resident Rosa Silverstein said.

Tamiflu is not cheap. WFTV called four local pharmacies to find out what each charge for 10 caplets. Walmart was the cheapest at $98. CVS charges $100. Walgreens charges $111, and Publix had the highest price at $119.