First Child Dies of Influenza in New Jersey

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This year's strain of influenza is now considered "widespread" in Alabama and is likely to increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

By the last week in December, 7.4 percent of doctor visits in Georgia were for flu-like symptoms (compared to the baseline of 2.2 percent), and four deaths had been attributed to influenza (one patient was a child; the other three were senior citizens).

While Mema says it's close to being the peak of the flu season, it can stick around well into March.

The flu is mainly affecting children and the over 65s, said HSE public health specialist Dr Kevin Kelleher.

Data shows that the number of flu cases are likely to spike in the coming weeks. Thirteen children have died from the flu so far this season.

Did you get your flu shot? Vaccines protect against multiple flu strains.

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This year's flu season has a far different profile than last year's: it began earlier and the predominant circulating A strain is H1N1, the viral type that caused the pandemic in 2009-2010 but hasn't made much of an appearance for the last few years. If you don't have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. The CDC estimates that 80,000 people died of the flu during the 2017-2018 season. "When you get vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself, you are also protecting the people you love". Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu.

The CDC is the official recorder of flu outbreaks in the USA, and offers a free app, FluView, to help users track flu outbreaks in their state throughout flu season.

Influenza symptoms include: headache, fever (102-104), weakness, runny or stuff nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, chest discomfort and general aches and pains.

Local health care providers and pharmacies all over Lee County also provide flu shots. "So what we like to say, 'It's really not all about you'".

Bankole said federal health officials have been able to develop vaccines that do a better job of preventing H1N1.

"We can calculate that if about half the people exposed to the flu couldn't get infected and pass it on because they're immune, for example, the virus wouldn't be able to spread and the epidemic would stop".

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