One of the worst flu seasons in years has hit Florida.

Many local hospitals report a 35 percent increase in the number of patients with the flu and the rates are still climbing.

Some emergency rooms are taking special steps to isolate those with flu symptoms to prevent the disease from spreading.

Levels are likely to rise steadily, then plateau for two to three weeks and then decline.

Tampa and Orlando areas are following a statewide and nationwide trend, where patients get sicker much faster than normal.

Nationwide this flu season, 18 children have died and more than 2,000 people went into the hospital.

The predominant strain this year is H3-N2.

This strain is particularly virulent, with symptoms lasting longer than average.

However, this year's vaccine covers the harsh strain.

Those who get the flu shot today will need to wait two weeks until the shot works with their body to provide the fullest immunity possible.

Those who are younger and who have healthy immune systems respond to the vaccine more fully.

The vaccine is not always completely effective. However, most people will find it 60 to 70 percent effective.

This year’s vaccine is trivalent. That means it covers three strains -  H1N1, H3N2, and B/Yamagata .

The shot will work to decrease the severity of symptoms and the time duration of illness.

Do not dismiss symptoms. Severe infections can lead to death.

Symptoms include:

  • a fever over 100 degrees
  • aching muscles
  • chills
  • sweats
  • dry coughs
  • headaches
  • nasal congestion
  • fatigue

Once someone has the flu, there are steps to take to decrease symptoms.

  • drink water
  • control fever with Tylenol or Advil
  • take mucolytics  to decrease mucus
  • take anti-histamines to decrease any allergies
  • take anti-virals, like Tamiflu, in the first 48 hours
  • try nasal saline moisturizes
  • build your immune system
  • try herbals

More than a third of Americans have received this year's flu shot.

However, that means almost two-thirds are not vaccinated and get easily spread the flu.