Health department offers free flu shots, encourages vaccination

Health department offers free flu shots, encourages vaccination

Health department offers free flu shots, encourages vaccination

It also reported the highest rate of flu-like illnesses since the flu pandemic of 2009. And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.

"We wish there could have been better news this week", said Schuchat.

According to the CDC's weekly surveillance report, there were 14,094 new confirmed cases ending February 3, bringing the season total of reported illness to 151,983.

In Pennsylvania, there have been 91 deaths related to influenza. Schuchat says lab tests are showing that "B" strains of the flu were starting to creep up.

This year's dominant flu strain, H3N2, has been blamed for the especially severe season.

The kupuna at Lunalilo Home in Hawaii Kai have an array of activities during the day while staff has been vigilant about controlling infection with flu clinics and hand-washing before and after every meal.

"We're only at week 11 now, so we could potentially see several more weeks of increased flu activity", Schuchat said.

Officials emphasized that it is possible to get the flu more than once in a season, and since the season runs through May and seems to be getting worse, health experts reminded everyone that there is still plenty of time to protect yourself with the flu vaccine. The CDC expects the flu season to last at least another four to five weeks. OR and Hawaii are the two exceptions. Layna was a Grade 7 student who was at home with her parents when she fell ill.

"Obviously we're looking at a lot of illness this year", she said.

In all, 354 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 2,646.

In the most recent week data were available, 10% of deaths in the nation were from influenza and pneumonia.

"The flu is more than just 'a bad cold.' It's a serious respiratory illness that's easily spread from person to person, usually when the person with the flu coughs or sneezes", Dr.

She added that overall hospitalization rates are now "significantly higher" than what we've seen at this point in the season in previous flu seasons. "It's beginning to feel like a marathon", said Dr. Anthony Marchetti, emergency department medical director at Upson Regional Medical Center, a 115-bed hospital in rural Georgia.

Schuchat said people should still get the flu shot and noted that strains better controlled by vaccines are becoming more common as the season progresses - and can even infect people who have already had the flu.