Flu season is upon us, here are some tips you need to know

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Fever, sore throat, and aches: All tell-tale signs of an influenza-like illness, which is on the rise in Florida.

According to the Florida Department of Health, most counties in our area are seeing mild activity with the exception of Jackson County, which is seeing elevated activity.

This is based on data released earlier in February, but the department releases a weekly report each Wednesday.

The department expects to see heightened flu activity for the next several weeks.

Dr. Yahia Rahim in Panama City tells us more than half of the patients he's seeing have the flu.

"A lot of cases actually, more than 60 percent of the patients coming to the office now for the last, I would say three weeks, to me at least," he said.

If you or your child is diagnosed with the flu, Dr. Rahim has a few recommendations.

He said, "I tell them my favorite medicine is ibuprofen, Motrin because there really is no cure for [the flu]."

He also recommends Tamiflu or cough medication to some of his patients.

While there's no cure for the flu, there are ways to treat it and possibly prevent it.

"Kids' shots are free through the Vaccines for Florida program, then adults' shots do have a fee associated with them, but, you know, if they can't get it here, wherever is most convenient for them," Heather Kretzer, Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, said.

Kids and adults can get vaccinated at DOH-Bay.

"We just want them to protect themselves and protect their children the best they can," Kretzer said.

Protection comes from home, or rather, staying at home.

Dr. Rahim said, "Try to avoid public places and school in particular and daycare."

The germs can come home with your kids too.

"For me, I also try to wash my kids' backpacks and lunch boxes and stuff once a week," Kretzer said.

No matter if you're at home, school, or work, you can always wash your hands.