State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith reported Tuesday that the state is experiencing widespread influenza activity that is more severe than past year due to significantly higher numbers of hospitalizations and outbreaks throughout the state.

"We hear a lot of people say they haven't had the flu shot and don't want to get the flu shot, but there's this thing called herd immunity where people in the population get the flu shot and it protects everyone from getting the flu", explained Garvey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting increased flu activity in many areas of the United States. Last week, the state saw the highest number of flu cases so far for the season.

The Albuquerque Journal reports based on the rising number of clinic visits and hospital admissions for flu-like symptoms, health officials believe flu season will peak in New Mexico in the coming weeks.

Though flu and respiratory illnesses are sickening more New Jersey residents than over the same period previous year, January's flu activity is relatively routine, experts said.

Rick Antonisse, executive director of the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, which monitors emergency room activity regionally, said the flu hadn't reached a level yet where it was overwhelming hospitals. The seasonal flu generally spreads across the US from November till March, with the peak number of cases often occurring in February.

H1N1 and B viruses are also circulating, Brammer said.

A seasonal flu shot is recommended every year to all persons age 6 months and older.

Doctors are urging extra precautions for the elderly, babies and pregnant women because they are more at risk.

The CDC estimated there could be as many as 25,000-26,500 hospital visits for flu-related symptoms from January 27 to February 2.

Brown said all of the current year's vaccine will expire on June 30, and in addition to getting a flu shot, she likewise has some recommendations for those who do get sick from the flu. Influenza frequently causes types of pneumonia that can be prevented by the pneumococcal vaccine.

Contain - contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

Anyone older than six months needs to be vaccinated against the influenza virus.


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