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Cold weather impacting flu season for NE Florida

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Updated: 1/27 9:15 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- UF Health Gainesville has reported 12 flu-related deaths since October. Hundreds more have tested positive in Jacksonville. According to Dr. Sunil Joshi, cold temperatures are making matters worse.

One of Joshi's patients, Tammy Sproch-Boyd, is no stranger to the flu. It wasn't that long ago that her daughter also came down with the virus.

"I thought we were going to end up at Wolfson's because the fever just wouldn't break," said Sproch-Boyd.

This time around, the virus seems to be getting stronger and fighting it off is getting more difficult.

According to Joshi, more patients are coming into his office sicker than they were last season.

"It is mutating, it's changing as we speak and so when it changes, it's very hard for us to fight it," said Joshi.

According to UF Health, of the 12 people who have died 11 had not gotten the vaccine and five were under 40. The hospital has also admitted 150 people to treat the flu since October.

At UF Health Jacksonville, 256 people have tested positive for the flu since November.

"I think the weather changes have had a lot to do with it. Colder weather trends tends to allow viruses to go further into your respiratory [system]," said Joshi.

Sproch-Boyd said she's not taking any chances this year and is considering the vaccine.

Joshi said getting the flu shot is your best defense.

"Even though the vaccine may not be 100 percent protective for this virus, it still can make the disease much less troubling for you," said Joshi.

According to Joshi, if you feel flu-like symptoms, let your doctor know in the first 48 hours, because if you need treatment, the medicine works best in the first two days.

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rhodacostintya - 1/28/2014 3:39 PM
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