Health Care

Millions already sickened with flu this season — CDC

Millions already sickened with flu this season — CDC

So, is the U.S.in for a milder flu season? Photocopier buttons are rarely wiped down and usually a hotbed mashup of several types of germs that can make you ill.

In North Carolina, state health officials said six people died from the flu last week, raising the death toll for the season to 16.

As with the rest of the province, this year's flu virus hit young people 15 and under harder, but the season seems to have peaked, though activity remains high. Of those sickened, between 2.9 million and 3.5 million visited a doctor, and an estimated 69,000 to 83,500 were hospitalized, according to the CDC's report.

In Illinois, the most recent data (which also goes through January 5) shows 163 people have been hospitalized for influenza this season, and one child has died, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has already advised people to take precautions to protect themselves from the flu.

"We decided that this year, we would try to release these preliminary numbers of illnesses each week so that we could give people a better picture, " said Alicia Fry, who heads CDC's epidemiology and prevention branch in the influenza division. "We do know, however, that the main influenza virus circulating this year (H1N1) is the same virus that circulated in the 2009 pandemic, which also more severely impacted northern communities".

Three preschoolers have died in Saskatchewan as a result of the flu so far this season, according to the provincial health ministry.

According to a recent report, less than a quarter of USA adults are aware that having certain chronic health conditions can make a person more likely to develop complications from the flu.

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Other ways to avoid getting a cold or the flu include washing your hands often and avoid touching your face.

"Last year was a high-severity season", she said. "The rate of flu vaccination of women of childbearing age, and especially those in the first trimester [of pregnancy], is unacceptably low", he said. People are being encouraged to get flu shots even through the vaccine has been only 30% effective in combating the influenza.

Doctors say they expect another bad year for influenza cases.

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