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The flu: What you need to know

It's too early to tell whether the flu will hit Hawaii residents as hard as many USA states, the state Department of Health reported Monday. Walgreens' recent flu index found the most flu activity in the Lone Star State.

He said Monday he was convinced that the current system, which has medical leaders from across the region monitoring the flu in real time and meeting in person twice per week, is enough for the time being.

At least 31 people are thought to have died from the flu in France since November 1, slightly less than the number killed in Britain during the same period.

Like that deadly 2014-2015 flu season, which caused about 20,000 deaths in the USA, this year's predominate strain of flu is H3N2.

But the vaccine uptake in the region during that time was higher within at-risk groups, compared to the same time previous year.

Flu outbreaks have also been reported in Switzerland, which shares a border with France, and nearby Holland.

Examples of ways in which declaring an emergency might help, he added, are distributing the county's reserve supply of ventilator machines or medications to hospitals or asking the state to temporarily suspend or modify mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. In Texas, some hospitals were turning away non-emergency patients due to overwhelmed emergency rooms.

It is still a good time to get the flu shot.

Five people have died from the flu in CT this season and now, doctors are reminding people to take precautions to prevent themselves from getting sick.

But Hawaii health officials recommended that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect against influenza.

While the standard adult flu jab doesn't protect against "Japanese flu", the quadrivalent vaccine does offer protection against the bug. Call ahead to places like doctor's offices, nursing homes and senior centers to see if they have special visitation restrictions for those who have flu-like symptoms.

This is why we say that the spread of flu is, in most cases, a contagion brought upon ourselves.

We do see the vaccine work in the 50 percent range.

States throughout the west and south are reporting severe increases in flu activity and flu-related deaths, though it's hard to understand just how San Diego's totals compare to national numbers because only deaths among those younger than age 65 must be reported to state and national public health agencies.

The vaccine is especially important for the elderly, children, pregnant women and others with chronic health conditions, according to the CDC, which recommends that every person older than six months of age receive the vaccine. According to the CDC, 13 children have already died from the virus this season.

Scott Countians can inquire about a free vaccine by calling the health department at 423-663-2445.

Simply put, people who are sick must avoid spreading the infection.

Among other precautions that can be taken, the health department said, are to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

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