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AFTER SWINE FLU ORDEAL, CARROLLWOOD MOM RECOVERS AT HOME

Cherie Starling, the 48-year-old mother of two from Carrollwood whose severe bout with swine flu made headlines here and nationally, is now home and recovering well, her husband, Wayne Starling, said Tuesday.

"Things have been pretty good. The kids are happy to have mom home," Wayne Starling said.

Cherie Starling was accompanying her 16-year-old daughter, Savannah, on a multicity tour with her drum and bugle group in July when she fell ill and was admitted to a Louisiana hospital. She was diagnosed with swine flu and pneumonia and treated with Tamiflu and antibiotics. But her condition worsened and she became unconscious. Doctors placed her on a ventilator.

Starling was eventually brought to Tampa, and had been recovering at University Community Health's Long Term Acute Care Hospital at Connerton in Land O'Lakes before being cleared to go home this past Thursday, her husband said.

She's eating and sleeping well, and getting around the house with the help of a walker, Wayne Starling said.

He said the family has been overwhelmed by the support of friends and the community. Volunteers from their church, Lake Magdalene United Methodist in Tampa, have been bringing dinner to their home every day for more than a month. And Cherie Starling has also received a steady flow of encouraging words from friends on her Facebook page.

PINELLAS RESIDENT DIES: A 20-year-old man on Tuesday became Pinellas County's third person to die of swine flu, the Pinellas County Health Department reports.

The man had other health problems.

As of Sept. 2, there have been 70 H1N1 fatalities reported in Florida. Swine flu was first detected in people in the United States in April.

The county's Health Department director issued a warning with Tuesday morning's announcement, telling people to take the usual precautions to avoid the spread of both regular and swine flu: Wash your hands often and cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

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