Flu continues increasing in U.S., CDC says

Posted at 10:16 AM, Jan 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-06 13:56:22-05

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control says the flu is continuing to increase in the U.S.

"The severity of flu disease so far this season is similar to some previous seasons in which influenza A (H3N2) viruses have circulated predominantly," the CDC says. "H3N2 seasons often cause more severe disease for young children and elderly adults, as indicated by hospitalizations and deaths, compared to H1N1 seasons."

According to the Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, 30.4 percent of specimens tested were positive for influenza. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and the flu is below the epidemic threshold, though six children died from the flu last week, bringing the total for the 2014-15 flu season to 21.

The CDC offers these tips for avoiding illness this winter:
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Travel only when you feel well
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue. No tissue? Then cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

It also warns that people with cancer or who have had cancer in the past are more susceptible to the flu, and offers advice for cancer patients.