Health officials warn of rise in influenza, urge vaccinations

A patient gets a flu shot

The Arkansas Department of Health said this week that 125 people have died from influenza-related conditions in Arkansas this season, three of those children.

As with the national and statewide trends, Polk County Health officials say we're in the midst of a particularly brutal flu season.

So far this flu season, 231 people have died from the flu.

While Guam has had its share of those who have contracted the flu, the island hasn't been hit as hard as most of the United States. This reflects what's going on in the nation and it's obviously a very very severe season and it's lasting a long time.

In Atlanta, there were 15,000 hospitalizations due to the flu virus which means nearly 2 times more than in the past years' flu outbreaks, according to the local CDC office. "One of the worldwide pandemics of the flu".

Nine influenza-related deaths have been reported in the county this season, including seven last month.

Since the flu is highly contagious, the CDC recommends that people with symptoms stay home from work, school, running errands and visiting friends or relatives. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headaches, fatigue and coughing.

"The current influenza season is proving to be a severe one in both the Middlesex-London area and across Canada", the Middlesex-London Health Unit said in a statement.

Dawson said the flu shot remains the best defense.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If sick with the flu contact your health care provider early because early treatment can impact the course of the disease. "And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others". This disease is spread through discharges from the nose and mouth and it is important that people keep a good respiratory hygiene to control the spread.

Last months, churches across ME took the unusual step of suspending traditional rituals such as sharing communion wine and shaking hands to try to prevent the spread of flu.

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