The state’s surgeon general made an appearance in Volusia County Friday to talk about how to keep children and families healthy across the state.

  • State surgeon general keynote speaker for coalition
  • Addressed health challenges impacting babies, children, families
  • Two big health issues is flu and opioid crisis, Dr. Philip says

Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Celeste Philip stood before a crowd as the keynote speaker for the Healthy Start Coalition as she addressed the state’s strongest health challenges impacting babies, children and families.

"That’s why we’re here, and we look forward to working with all of the various community partners and community members as we deal with each of these issues," Dr. Philip said.

She explained one of the two serious issues the state is dealing with includes fighting the worst flu season since 2009.

"We have had five children who have died from flu-related illnesses here, and we never want to see any child die or any person die from something that’s preventable," Dr. Philip said.

She added another issue that has touched all children and families in the state is an increase in opioid overdoses.

"When we look at how we provide care to individuals, it really needs to be about how do we provide care to that family — that we address the best needs of the adult to maybe the person that’s struggling with addiction and also their children," Dr. Philip said.

Philip said addiction to opioids have grown due to people self-medicating from childhood issues.

As for the flu, they're working to make sure flu medicines stay stocked and they keep a backup so there won't be a shortage.

She said the federal government is helping to provide funding resources to help.

"Coming together as we have been and continue our work to understand some of those root causes and how can move forward to make sure we better understand the impacts," Dr. Philip said.

Both of these are prevalent across our state, she added. But both are preventable — their goal is to make sure they always have treatment available.

Dr. Philip recommends Floridians to get the flu shot and said it's not too late.

Meanwhile, she said they are looking at making changes to the prescribing process and helping those who are in recovery from opioid addiction get jobs.