2 pediatric flu deaths among 36 reported in Kentucky

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There have been four flu-related deaths this winter in Northern Ireland.

Wadsworth Center, the state health department's laboratory, reports a 37 percent jump in laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in recent weeks.

The department notes there were no influenza outbreaks reported in Newfoundland and Labrador so far during this flu season. The state Department of Health says it isn't too late to have a flu shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 kids have died from the flu so far this season, while in California, dozens of adults under 65 have been killed.

Experts try to predict each year which flu strains will be prevalent for the season, she said, but at times they get it wrong or the virus changes during the season.

A shot is recommended for people 6 months of age and older.

More than half of the hospitalizations have occurred among individuals 50 years and older.

Some long-term care facilities have issued warnings on the west coast and in central Newfoundland, restricting visitation as a precaution against the flu season.

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Even in a year when the vaccine is well-matched to circulating strains of influenza, it will not prevent every case of flu, Ehresmann said. Vaccination is especially important for anyone who falls into a higher-risk group: older adults, infants and very young children, pregnant women and anyone with a chronic health condition such as diabetes or asthma.

"If you do become unwell with flu or flu-like symptoms, you should stay at home - most cases of flu are likely to be mild and can be managed at home with over-the-counter remedies", she said. "If you're not better in 72 to 96 hours, then see someone because there is a chance of developing pneumonia and other complications".

Family Practice Medical Center has used up nearly all its vaccine supply but has some pediatric doses available for children under the age of 3, she said. The vaccine also is available at several local pharmacies.

The agency says people should wash their hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home from work and away from public places if they are ill. "You feel like you've been run over by a truck", said Cartter.

Symptoms of flu tend to come on suddenly.

The organization said infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. "We're seeing a high amount of them as well".

A total of 456 patients have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu between August 27, 2017, and January 6. Those who develop flu symptoms should seek medical advice to determine if they should be treated with an antiviral drug, which could shorten the course of the illness or reduce its severity.

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