Here's something you need to know about flu

Widespread Flu Hits Earlier This Season

The number of people who have received influenza vaccinations from the Kern County Public Health Department is down 20 percent from previous year, data show. Health officials urge everyone six months or older to get vaccinated.

Flu season has hit Arizona hard this year: the state Department of Health said this year's epidemic is proving to be far worse than last year, with emergency rooms experiencing longer than average wait times due to an overflow of sick patients.

Forty-one thousand cases of flu have been confirmed in the United States as of the week of December 27. Only Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, and New Jersey reported regional flu activity.

Florida is among the 46 states where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity.

The start of this season is at levels usually seen at the peak of the influenza season, with significantly higher office visits and hospitalizations for flu-like symptoms, the county reports.

Greenville Health System is limiting patient visitation to adults except in special circumstances in an effort to combat the spread of flu and other contagious illnesses.

All children aged two and three years olds are eligible for a free nasal spray flu vaccine at their GP surgery each winter.

Flu symptoms include sudden high fever, headache, dry cough, chills and/or severe body aches and fatigue.

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Mike Gross said he followed his wife's advice and got the vaccine, but he still got the flu. If you do get sick, stay home until you're well again, so you don't spread more germs.

Wash your hands often and well with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.

Doctors in West Michigan are asking people to do what they can to protect themselves from the influenza viruses.

For more information about influenza, visit CDPH's website. "In the past, A (H3N2) virus-predominant influenza seasons have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups", the CDC said in a recent Health Alert.

"The individual had a medical condition that put them at risk for severe illness", Solano County Health Officer and Health and Social Services Deputy Director Bela Matyas, said.

"As of today, there's no shortage of influenza vaccine in California".

Experts say it is never too late to receive the vaccine. Antiviral drugs are most effective when given early in the onset of illness.

Those with milder cases may wish to call their own primary care provider, or simply stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and possibly combine some homemade chicken soup with over-the-counter remedies to treat symptoms, state and local health officials said.

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