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U.S. Flu Activity Continues to Climb

UPDATED February 12, 2016

UPDATED By WeatherBug's Doug Kahn

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There has been an uptick in influenza cases across the U.S. heading into early-February. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing its weekly flu updates.

No flu activity was found in the following states: Mississippi

Sporadic flu activity was found in the following states: Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Local flu activity was found in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Regional flu activity was found in the following states: Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Widespread flu activity was found in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New York.

Here are some flu facts:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people older than 6 months of age get the seasonal flu vaccine. In addition to the traditional shot, the vaccine is also available via a nasal spray that can be ministered to any healthy person between the ages of 2 and 50. The CDC says not to delay getting your child vaccinated by waiting for the spray. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to find out about flu vaccine side-effect and precautions.

Speaking of the flu shot, the best time to get one is generally in the fall. If you did not get one this season, it is technically never "too late," though it takes a couple of weeks for your body to develop flu antibodies to protect itself. Remember: the flu shot cannot give you the flu, but some side effects are possible, including a runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, and mild fever.

Due to certain health restrictions, not everyone is eligible to receive the flu shot. For those of you who are not able to get a flu shot, there are other things you can do to minimize your risk for contracting the flu, as well as giving it to others:

  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Avoid exposing others when you are sick. Stay home from work or school if you are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Lastly, getting a flu shot is not a guarantee that you won`t end up getting the flu, but it can help you from catching it as easily and can even help keep symptoms from being as bad. In fact this season, because of the unusual severity of the flu, the CDC has urged doctors to prescribe antiviral drugs, like Tamiflu, to patients with flu-like symptoms. If given early enough, there is evidence that antivirals can lessen the intensity and duration of influenza symptoms.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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