Get your flu shot, Newfoundland and Labrador health minister says

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	5 dead more than 300 hospitalized in Georgia as flu spreads health officials say

To monitor circulating flu viruses through the year, the DPH uses multiple surveillance systems to gain preliminary insight into the spread of influenza across the state. This means that 13 of the 17 regions of the commonwealth had confirmed flu cases in the last reporting week, which ended December 30.

"Even if you do get the flu after you've gotten that flu shot, the medicine in you is going to make sure your symptoms aren't as severe and that the time that you're sick isn't going to be as long as somebody that wasn't vaccinated", said Hokanson.

As the number of flu-related hospitalizations continues to increase, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has sent out a reminder to Oklahomans saying there is still time to get a flu shot.

More than 30 flu-related deaths have occurred in the state, including one in LaRue County.

"The efficacy of the flu vaccine can only be determined at the end of a season", said Haggie.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 kids have died from the flu so far this season, while in California, dozens of adults under 65 have been killed. Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.

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Preliminary data for Kandiyohi County shows one school-based outbreak of influenza-like illness and 20 hospitalized cases, primarily among older adults, for the season so far, according to Kandiyohi County Public Health. Of the 8,432 cases tested in the flu year's 13 week ending January 6, there were 3,269, or 38.8 percent, that were tested positive for influenza. Those at highest risk for flu complications are pregnant women; the elderly; children younger than 5; and people with asthma, diabetes, chronic heart and lung disease and other chronic conditions.

But just because the flu shot isn't as effective against H3N2 this year doesn't mean you shouldn't get it. The Department of Health says that's the best way to prevent it. In addition to the vaccine, people should take every day preventive actions such as washing their hands often, staying home if they are sick with the flu and coughing in their sleeve as opposed to their hands.

Masks have popped up at the entrances to area hospitals and clinics, and patients and visitors are being urged to put on a mask before seeing someone who may be vulnerable.

The organization said infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.

A total of 456 of those cases required hospitalization. Persons who develop flu symptoms should seek medical advice to determine if they should be treated with an antiviral drug, which could shorten the course of the illness or reduce its severity.

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