Idaho flu deaths at record levels

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The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting an uptick in deaths due to influenza compared to a year ago. Six were linked to H3N2, two were from unsubtyped influenza A viruses, and one was from influenza B. The CDC started tracking pediatric flu deaths in the 2004-05 season, and totals have ranged from a low of 37 to a high of 171. Each year, influenza is responsible for about 50,000 deaths in the US -most in older adults. Denton County has reported 112 flu-related hospitalizations this season.

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The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories reports that four different influenza viruses are circulating in Idaho this season; 98.4% are the influenza A (H3) virus, which is considered the most severe of the influenza viruses detected.

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Idaho has verified 36 flu deaths so far this year. Available vaccines are formulated differently each year-based on the strains of flu that are expected to circulate. First, avoid close contact with sick people and stay at home if you are sick. It is important that those who have underlying health conditions or may be caregivers of high-risk individuals check with their physicians or healthcare providers about antiviral medications that might help them recover more quickly from the flu. Antivirals also can prevent serious flu complications that could land you in the hospital.

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You can find more information about how to battle the flu here.

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