Flu already being blamed for deaths in multiple states - WSMV News 4

Flu already being blamed for deaths in multiple states

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(WSMV File) (WSMV File)

This year's flu season is three times worse than last year, and now three dozen states are now reporting widespread cases.

Forty-nine states, including Tennessee, have reported either regional or widespread flu activity within the last week.

In the Midstate, Maury County Schools will be closed for the rest of the week due to the circulation of a severe case of influenza type A.

The results have already been deadly. In Kentucky, there have been eight flu-related deaths so far. In North Carolina, 12 people have died, including a child.

The spike in flu activity has forced some hospitals in California to enforce new restrictions for sick visitors and children under 12.

Doctors say this year's flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective.

“Flu is here. It’s all over the country, but it’s really hit Middle Tennessee hard in the last couple of weeks,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease doctor with Vanderbilt. “Even if the vaccine doesn’t protect you perfectly, it generally makes the illness milder. So we’ll take that. You’re less likely to get the complications of pneumonia, having to be hospitalized or dying.”

This year's flu season started earlier than normal, creating the perfect storm for a major outbreak.

The peak of flu season runs through February. Doctors say it's important to frequently wash your hands and drink plenty of fluids. If you want to get a flu shot, officials say it's not too late.

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