CDC: Severe flu season slams all but one state

Eastern Health

Eastern Health

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, significant influenza activity has been reported in 55 of the state's 67 counties, including Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Jackson and Marshall counties.

Officials with Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics say that while no flu related deaths have occurred in Audubon County, flu cases are on the rise and are expected to peak in February or March. The flu season typically lasts from October through May.

Two men and one woman died, said Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Five adult influenza-related deaths have been identified so far this influenza season in New Hampshire.

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The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky, and in the 36 deaths, is Influenza A, according to the department.

Health officials say it's shaping up to be a bad season overall, dominated by a nasty type of flu bug that can cause severe illness in young children and seniors. The CDC is expecting this year's vaccine to be 30% effective.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and muscle aches.

Infants, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions are at highest risk of getting severe complications from the flu.

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For the first time this season, flu is widespread in every state in the continental United States, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention media briefing on Friday. "If disease does occur after vaccination, the vaccine can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and prevent both hospitalization and death". The most recent hospitalization rate for flu was 22.7 per 100,000 people, up from 13.7 per 100,000 last week.

Frequent hand washing also protects the virus from spreading .

If you get the flu, stay home and rest so you don't spread it to other people. "However, we know from past experience, it will be many more weeks for flu activity to slow down". Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if you don't have accessto soap and water.

Avoid close contact with sick people. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.

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