FLU CASES SPIKE: Ivey issues public health emergency

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Janet Hill, of the Rock Island County Health Department said that in IL, flu cases don't have to be reported to health departments, unless someone is in intensive care because of the flu.

Despite concerns that the flu shot isn't as effective this year, health officials say it's too early to confirm.

"Nearly 13 percent of the people showing up to emergency rooms [in the Houston area] are due to flu-like symptoms", said Porfirio Villarreal, spokesperson, city of Houston Health Department.

Dallas County revealed little about the victims other than their ages and that they all had high-risk health conditions and that they died after complications from the seasonal flu.

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- In a flu season that has reached near-epidemic proportions nationwide, three people in Wake County have lost their lives. "It lets us know what is going on in the school population". Children and seniors are at the highest risk from the flu.

Beginning next week, St. Peter's Health will be implementing flu restrictions at their facilities to help prevent the spread of the virus in the community.

People are also being reminded to still get the flu shot if they haven't done so already.

Dr. Zeeshan Shaikh of Southwest Urgent and Family Care said this is the worst flu season he's ever seen and blames it on a number of different reasons.

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Finally in a follow-up on the situation in Arizona, The Arizona Department of Health Services released data Wednesday that shows influenza activity continues to rise statewide. People who become severely ill with flu-like symptoms should seek medical care.

Some of the symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. These drugs work best when treatment begins within two days of symptoms starting but may still be helpful after that time.

Children and the elderly are also not spared from the flu season.

"I would encourage anyone in an eligible group to get vaccinated - it is the best defence against flu". If you don't have insurance, the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program and the Uninsured and Underinsured Adult Vaccine program provide free or low-priced vaccines.

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The advice from Werker, Shahab and others is to stay home when you're sick, cough into your sleeve and always wash your hands.

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