Flu Deaths Rise As CDC Unsure if We've Hit Peak Season

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Overall flu deaths are hard to calculate, but the CDC reports that 63 children have died from flu or flu-related illness at this point.

A special education teacher in Texas is reportedly on life support after contracting both strains of influenza, as the worst flu season in years engulfs the United States.

Health officials say the influenza vaccine, although not 100 percent effective, is the best way to prevent the flu.

As for South Carolina, DHEC released its latest numbers February 7, showing that there have been a total of 518 hospitalizations.

"Researchers go and find which strains seem to be circulating in the southern hemisphere 6 or 8 months before our flu season", said Harris. A recent CDC study showed vaccination prevents deaths by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and almost two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children.

167 deaths were reported statewide as of last week.

In Georgia, people are still getting sick at higher rates, though the death rate has fallen for the last few weeks after shooting upward at the start of the year.

For that reason, Walmart is offering flu shots through the entire flu season.

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Thorough hand-washing, proper coughing and sneezing etiquette and the flu shot can help reduce the spread of the virus. About 65% died within 7 days of symptom onset.

Children are at high risk for influenza complications - especially those younger than 2. As other studies found, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus were the most common bacterial coinfections, which were more common in kids who didn't have underlying medical conditions.

About half of the children who've had to be hospitalized had been healthy previously.

Patsy Malas, Campus Nurse, says the most important thing to know is that the flu is most contagious during the 24 hours after all symptoms have cleared.

The Flu B strain typically causes a less severe reaction than the type A flu virus, but occasionally, type B flu can still be extremely harmful. The team said some have suggested the possibility of slower development of age-related immune response to influenza B. Although it may not prevent the flu, it has been lessening the severity of the illness. "Were the children first infected with RSV and then influenza?"

Most people who feel sick won't need to see a doctor, she noted. "Even if you have already contracted one flu strain this season, the vaccine is still recommended for protection against others".

While some counties were reporting less new cases, it was unclear Friday based on surveillance data if this season's influenza has hit it's peak in California.

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