Flu-related deaths higher than previously reported

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Additionally, studies show that the influenza vaccine can make the illness milder in certain cases where an individual was vaccinated but still contracted influenza.

Conventional wisdom has it that Abilene's flu is worst in January and February.

Federal flu forecaster Dave Osthus at the Los Alamos National Laboratory told Business Insider that flu levels are looking a little higher than average for this time of year, but they're still within a normal range. That's above the region's baseline of 3.3 percent for the past week.

The bulk of cases were in Fairfield County, which had 49 people test positive for the flu.

The prevalence of the flu prompted the face mask rule, which first went into effect during the 2013-14 influenza season. Only those 10 and over can receive the vaccine through "Flu Express".

"The earlier we notice strains of influenza, the better we can combat them", he said. "Even in 2017, Americans die from influenza and influenza-related illness".

However, as Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, pointed out, the flu has potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. Flu vaccinations should be a normal part of everyone's annual wellness regiment 6 months of age and older. For accurate, clinical based evidence on the flu shot visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/flu and do yourself, your family, and your co-workers a favor and get your flu shot if you haven't already.

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"Flu is increasing. We're seeing a pretty steep increase in influenza activity across the USA but especially in the South", said Brendan Flannery, a co-author of the new report and an epidemiologist in the CDC's flu division.

It's still early in the flu season, but three U.S. states, Louisiana, Mississippi and SC, are experiencing high "Influenza-Like Illness" activity. The flu shots were made mandatory for hospital staff and physicians beginning in 2016 and posters with information about the vaccine and flu are posted in doctors' offices and in the hospital pharmacy. You know what that means; it's time to get those pesky flu shots.

There are many common misconceptions with influenza and the flu shot circulating throughout the internet and social media. "But it is a wise choice - it's a healthy choice".

Health officials recommend that everyone six months and older get vaccinated.

Stay home if you are sick until you are fever free for 24 hours - with a temperature of less than 100◦ F (37.8◦ C), without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.

"You can wash your hands", Burstein says.

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