Flu-related deaths in Arkansas rise by 4, now stands at 10

Woman with flu

Officials say flu activity is now "high" and "widespread" across the state.

Flu vaccines are available at many locations throughout MI, including doctor's offices, pharmacies and local health departments.

Lynn Sutfin, with the Michigan Department of Health, says cases of the flu are on the rise across the state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 80,000 people died nationwide last flu season from the illness, which was the highest death toll in at least four decades.

"At this point, most flu activity has been driven by illness in school-aged children, and hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old (7.7 per 100,000) are now the highest among all age groups".

"We have 268 confirmed cases of flu in Jackson County right now, which previous year, we were much higher", Landrum said.

"Last year it was such an outbreak".

The Christmas and New Year holidays are opportune times for the respiratory virus to spread, health department officials said, noting close family time and work celebrations frequently are breeding grounds for the flu.

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Arkansas and Oklahoma have lost 21 people to the flu since September. IL has been experiencing a slightly higher activity level, earning "local activity" status, which indicates recent lab-confirmed influenza outbreaks in a single region and/or an increase in influenza-like illness cases.

Even though flu season is well underway, it's not too late to get the flu vaccine, says Rock.

Two weeks ago, only 9 states reported high ILI activity. "Flu shots are available at the health department and local pharmacies".

Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, sweats, headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle aches and fatigue.

Find out more about the flu in Iowa, here.

The predominant strain of flu this year appears to be the H1N1 virus, the same that was responsible for the 1918 pandemic that claimed 15-million lives.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends older adults to get a pneumonia vaccine, along with the flu vaccine, due to complications pneumonia can cause as a result of the flu.

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