Flu widespread in 46 states; 9 more kids' deaths reported

Posted February 18, 2017

Clinics in Arkansas are experiencing a high level of flu and flu-like illnesses in the state, which is consistent with the high level of flu being seen throughout the country.

The current flu season is the worst in almost two decades in Idaho, with 47 flu deaths reported statewide.

Respiratory specimens testing positive for flu rose from 20.9% to 24.2%, and results from CDC and clinical labs show that while most are still influenza A, the percentage of influenza B viruses found in samples rose from 12.3% to 16.7% last week.

The flu vaccine is changed each year based on the best guess at which strains will be the biggest problem. A shift toward more influenza B viruses is common for the latter part of the flu season. "It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, so now is a really good time to get that protection if you have not already", according to McHugh.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue and a headache.

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If you do become sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your illness.

Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone aged six months old and older, with rare exceptions.

Landers reminds the public that certain people with influenza are at higher risk of complications from the disease.

The Shelby County Health Department is now offering free flu shots at all of their clinics.

Millions of Americans by now have felt the pinch, the flu shot.