Five flu-related deaths confirmed in Houston area

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Image Could you be suffering from the flu

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But the holiday season is over and it's time to get back to reality.

"We started Alana's Foundation in 2009 after my daughter, Alana, age 5, died from the flu, a vaccine-preventable disease", said Zachary Yaksich, founder and director of Alana's Foundation, who hosted the national challenge. And you need to deal with it.

The report is in line with what we've seen across the state and country: Influenza is spiking.

"After the holiday season, it can be particularly hard to find influenza vaccine" said Dusty Warden, outreach coordinator for Immunize El Paso. WakeMed Hospital is reporting a sharp increase in flu cases.

Baptist Health System in Birmingham issued a similar flu alert advisory Thursday, warning the community that area hospitals are seeing a "significant surge in flu and other respiratory illness patients" and that emergency departments "have reached maximum capacity".

"You can book an appointment to get the vaccine at your GP or local pharmacy and the flu nasal spray vaccination is the simplest way to protect children".

"The CDC is definitely telling everybody to still get the flu shot, that there is a benefit", Grayson said, may it be faster recovery time, milder symptoms and more. This year, the H3N2 strain is spreading fast, and appears to be more widespread and potent than last year.

On average 8,000 people a year are killed by flu in Britain. A recent study out of Australia, which recently wrapped up its flu season, showed that a similar vaccine wasn't all that useful there.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

So far 43 schools and 55 long-term care facilities in the state have reported outbreaks, though epidemiologists note those numbers only reflect the cases that were bad enough to force a clinic or hospital visit-meaning thousands more cases are likely going uncounted.

"Cases of flu were at double the rate in December as the previous year, and can be a serious illness that can make even healthy people very unwell". But that doesn't mean the shot made them sick, according to experts at Harvard Medical School. "So, about two weeks after getting the flu shot, your body has developed an immune response".

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