State flu activity level hits 'widespread'

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Texas is one of 23 states already seeing widespread flu activity, almost double the number this week compared to last week. Influenza-like illness is widespread across the state.

Though the latest numbers on flu in the state haven't been finalized, Siniscalchi said, as of Saturday, well over 400 people had tested positive for the flu so far this season, and close to 200 had been hospitalized with the illness.

A statewide report for the week ending December 16 shows 350 cases of lab-confirmed flu since autumn, when the state started its surveillance report.

Many of those cases are people who did get the flu vaccine, though. "Last year we saw in the United States 110 pediatric deaths from flu".

The number of influenza cases and related fatalities skyrocketed in the San Diego region last week, pushing the "flu season" totals to levels far ahead of the same time a year ago, county health officials reported Wednesday.

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. In short, prevention is always better than cure; the best defense against the flu is to get an annual flu shot.

"Even though it's best to get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine is available, getting the vaccine later can still be helpful", Miller stated.

"There's still a benefit to getting vaccinated because if you do get the flu, your symptoms will be milder", Troisi said.

With flu cases rising at a rapid rate, some experts said the state - and country - could be in for a wild season.

Flu viruses are easily shared at family gatherings, said Dr. Robert Kezirian a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Valley Children's Hospital. The county's health department does not provide flu vaccine. Typically we don't see the flu season kick into high gear this early.

It's the first time more than 1,000 influenza cases were seen in the county in a single week, and is about four times more than the week before, according to Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county deputy public health officer.

Dr. Cynthia Brownfield with Mosaic Life Care re-educated many people in a recent report from News-Press Now. There have been 2,976 cases reported throughout the state so far this season.

A spike in flu cases during the holidays is not unusual.

Also, washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, may help to avoid the flu.

After receiving the vaccination it takes two weeks to become effective, making time imperative to avoiding influenza.

It's also wise to not attempt to self-diagnose - "Unless a doctor told you that you have the flu, you can not jump to that conclusion".

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