Flu season hits hard in Tampa Bay area - WFLA News Channel 8

Flu season hits hard in Tampa Bay area

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Jose Montero, infectious disease expert at Tampa General Hospital Jose Montero, infectious disease expert at Tampa General Hospital

Flu season is hitting the Bay Area hard this year. National health officials are calling the virus widespread in 47 states, including Florida.

Kitty Kaplan knows all too well how bad the flu is this year. She caught the bug from her daughter, and spent more than a week feeling sick.

"You have about a week where it's hard to do anything, you're so fatigued," she said.

There have been near constant reminders from doctors to get the flu shot, but there are still a lot of people out there who haven't done it-- including Kaplan. So she had one question for a doctor.

"Since I've had the flu, and had it very bad, will I get it back?" she asked.

8 On Your Side took Kaplan's question to University of South Florida infectious disease expert Jose Montero at Tampa General Hospital. His answer: maybe.

"The likelihood is low, but it's still possible," he said.

That's because Montero says there are three prevalent strains of the flu virus this year.  A patient could get one strain early in the season and then catch another later on.

"Some people say they have the flu when they have a cold. Some people say they have the flu when they have a stomach virus," he said. "Influenza, when you really have influenza, it hits you pretty hard."

But Montero said there is still plenty of time to get that flu shot. Advice Kaplan plans on taking.

"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!" she said.

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