Health officials warn of rise in influenza, urge vaccinations

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No further details were released by The Maryland Health Department about the death.

Almost 6 percent of patients heading to the state's emergency departments had flu-like illnesses, according to the state Health Department's weekly flu report.

In Atlanta, there were 15,000 hospitalizations due to the flu virus which means nearly 2 times more than in the past years' flu outbreaks, according to the local CDC office. Flu season runs October until May.

The number of flu-related deaths in the state rose to 122 as of Monday morning, making the current flu season the deadliest since the state began closely tracking flu-linked deaths in 2000.

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Health departments in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty and McIntosh counties will also be offering free flu shots from 8 a.m.to 3 p.m. Friday. "We hope that in the future, this work will allow us to focus on certain strains of influenza virus and target our surveillance more narrowly so we have a better chance of identifying the next pandemic flu before it spreads". She was initially wary of receiving the vaccine, but said "the nurses were sweet, patient and they explained the whole vaccine". About 80 percent of the children who have died of flu and related illnesses were not vaccinated, said Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC's influenza division, during a press call last week.

Pregnant women, young children, seniors and people with other health conditions are particularly at risk and should seek medical care if they think they may have the flu.

Visitors exhibiting flu symptoms - including fever, runny nose, cough or sore throat - are not permitted to visit patients in any UM Shore Regional Health facility.

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available.

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Maryland Department of Health continues to track this year's flu, which remains classified as "high intensity" and with "widespread geographic activity".

Below are a few things, the CDC recommends you can do to protect your loved ones and yourself: Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

The CDC recommends frequent hand washing and covering one's mouth during a cough or sneeze to help prevent the spread of the flu. These steps will help prevent respiratory viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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