Flu cases on the rise in Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A reported 83 people tested positive for the flu at Jackson Hospital in Marianna last week.

Jackson County schools are taking extra precautions as this flu season grows more and more deadly.

"We have sent several, several students home with fevers," Jackson County School District RN Stephanie Folsom said. "If it's above 100 degrees, we're sending them home, just because most likely when they go get tested, it's going to be the flu."

Children with the flu may have several symptoms other than a fever.

"They're coughing, congested, aching, chills," Folsom said. "When they're breaking fever they'll start sweating a lot, just overall not feeling well at all."

School district officials are asking parents to please keep students home if there is any question about their health.

"If they do test positive for the flu, we ask them to keep those sick children home, or staff members, we ask them to stay home," Superintendent of Schools Larry Moore said.

Officials are asking you to also avoid visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and other high risk places when you're sick.

"You can always call the hospital, you can call the nursing home, but those are our vulnerable members of our community," Jackson Hospital Infection Control Nurse Kaye Robinsons said. "They're sick, they're elderly, and they need your protection."

Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Now is the time for you as individuals and residents of Jackson County, if you haven't received your flu shot, to get that," Health Department Acting Health Officer Sandon Speedling said. "That is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family members."

Flu shots are available at the county health department, CVS, and many local doctor's offices.

Health officials say it's better to get the flu shot sooner rather than later. Many providers may start to run out of the vaccine.