Traveling by plane? Here’s how to avoid getting the flu

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Doctors in the Tampa Bay area tell 8 On Your Side, if you are traveling through an airport, be vigilant. They explain that airports are the number one place where flu can spread, due to the thousands of people traveling through each day.

“When I was coming in on the tram, the driver was wearing a mask and gloves,” says Mark Urbaniak. He’s traveling from Tampa International Airport to Chicago.

“I wasn’t surprised at all to hear that,” Urbaniak added.

Doctors say the departure gate areas and the plane seats are the places with the most germs, so make sure to wipe them down if you’re traveling.

8 On Your Side has learned the second most common place for flu transmission is a hotel. Just think of all the surface areas people touch– remote controls and door handles to name a few.

Knowing this, Urbaniak is not taking any chances on his travels. He says he gets his flu shot, “religiously.”

In just a week’s time, Florida Hospital reported 200 flu cases. The number is shocking even for physicians.

“I have worked in emergency medicine for 15 years and the urgent care for 5 and I have never seen the flu this bad. it’s overwhelming,” says Dr. Nkem Uzo with Centra Care.

NBC news reports new research from Canada shows this year’s flu shot is 17 percent effective.

Still, doctors stress it’s the best way to prevent catching this miserable virus.

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