Increase in flu cases show more severe symptoms

"At mid-January and that point, we were over 3,000 cases so we're still under that for total number of cases", Rainey said.

This season did not only start earlier than previous ones, but also reached the majority of states practically at the same time - 39 states, Puerto Rico, and New York City among them. Recent flu seasons in Texas each saw roughly eight pediatric flu deaths.

The number of children among the list of victims this year is 37.

He said that although anyone can contract the flu, the majority of flu fatalities occur among those 65 and older, as well infants and other children.

Although the death toll given by the officials is accurate, it is still just an estimation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to give the flu shot to kids ages 2 to 18.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of people going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms is the highest it's been in almost a decade.

The Louisiana Department of Health said this is one of the worse flu seasons it has seen in decades.

However, the H3N2 virus that has swept the nation this year is the most deadly of the so-called "seasonal" strains. While it may not fight every flu strain, it may still help.

The elders are the most affected.

However, hospitalization rates for people 50 to 64 has been unusually high, CDC officials said.

That means there is time to guard against contracting the illness or spreading it, she said. Apart from that outbreak, the last time the country experienced such high levels of seasonal flu was in 2003-04. HCA Virginia and Bon Secours Richmond Health System also have been busy with people complaining of an influenza-like illness. After the 2009 flu pandemic, the FDA approved its use for infants as young as two weeks old and for pregnant women.

Chills are fairly common with the flu while they are uncommon with the cold. Even if a person who's been vaccinated gets the flu, the symptoms will be lessened.

Haupt said states like California have seen a decrease in reported cases, but Wisconsin is still on the upswing.

Carteret Health Care has begun limiting visitation to the hospital for the safety of patients and staff due to high levels of influenza in the community, effective immediately.

That's according to government health officials.

While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. "It is likely there will be significant flu activity for many weeks to come", O'Connor said in an email to the Globe.

Vanessa Coleman

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