Health officials report first child flu death in state

Mission Hospital in Asheville

Mission Hospital in Asheville

Five flu-related deaths have been reported so far this season in Dallas County, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Antibiotics are not effective against the flu.

There are roughly eight weeks left in the flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports "influenza activity" is ticking up across the southern half of the United States, with one strain (H3N2) responsible for the majority of the deadliest, most risky cases reported so far.

This illustration from the Pennsylvania Department of Health compares weekly confirmed flu cases from the last eight years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 21 of those states have high flu activity. "It's not too late to get vaccinated".

"They continue to be available now and in the coming months", she said.

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According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 172 people were hospitalized with influenza between December 16 and 23. Officials wanted to get the word out about the flu's spread before the long holiday weekend. Both hospitals advise anyone with flu-like symptoms not to visit hospitals.

The department said outpatient visits related to influenza are up almost 2 percent compared to the national average.

Darce said the hospital is not taking any out-of-the-ordinary measures in response to the increase in flu cases.

"We monitor (flu activity) at the local, state and federal levels".

Flu season doesn't typically peak until January or February-- so there is still time to get a flu shot. This is especially important for populations most at-risk for getting the flu: the very young and the elderly.

Trivedi said everyone should practice good hand washing to avoid the spread of germs and to stay away from people who do become sick. A positive flu test result is not necessary for a health care provider to prescribe an antiviral medication. A survey released this week by the Walgreen's pharmacy indicates that Texas leads the country in flu activity, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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