Flu cases increase; Riverview, Franciscan health groups take precautions

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So far this flu season in IN, there have been nine influenza-associated deaths, and 13 long-term care facility outbreaks, the state health department reported.

North Carolina's number of deaths related to the flu season increases to 11. The deaths were reported between December 17 and 23.

The Centers for Disease Control report that influenza is considered "widespread" in 36 states.

According to the state Department of Health Services, there have been 776 hospitalizations from the virus this flu season, with 273 of those occurring in just the last week.

Children and people with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk for much tougher cases of the flu.

People who are at higher risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than five, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, women up to two weeks postpartum, and residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

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"While flu vaccination is still recommended for people who have not yet gotten vaccinated, antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense that can be used to treat flu illness", the US agency added.

"We still have a few more months ahead in this season". Additionally, everyone should do not forget to thoroughly wash their hands throughout the day, avoid touching their face area and other orifices without reason, and to stay warm in colder weather to prevent the virus from replicating more quickly.

¯ Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.

Flu shots are available at many locations, including the Vigo County Health Department.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, fatigue and a headache. They may also prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. "It's not as severe as it would have been if you didn't get the shot".

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