Flu Activity Widespread Across United States, CDC Says

After a relatively slow start to flu season, influenza activity is now widespread in almost half of USA states. Meanwhile, 19 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness activity, meaning a much higher-than-average proportion of doctor's visits could be attributed to the flu.

If symptoms become severe - such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, extreme weakness, lips turning blue or passing out - go to emergency, say public health officials.

But it is understood that the number of cases has not been as widespread as previous years.

The dominating virus this flu season is H1N1, which tends to impact young healthy adults and children.

So far in North Carolina, there have been 10 flu-related deaths this flu season. However, health officials say the flu shot works better against that strain.

There have been high rates of children hospitalized across the country this year.

In this area, Pennsylvania has more than 6,400 positive flu cases, New Jersey has 439 and DE has 461.

As of December 29, the most recent data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows there were 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the country, with the provinces and territories reporting 1,046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

"We know this change may be hard for some of our patient families", the hospital's news release said. The Department of Health also recommends that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever).

HSE's Assistant National Director for Public Health and Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dr Kevin Kelleher, explains that data shows that flu levels are likely to increase over the coming weeks when flu begins to actively circulate in the community.

"So there is no reason why people should not get the flu shot this year".