Flu Season Arrives on West Coast

LiveScience.com

Some areas of the West Coast, which had seen less flu activity than the rest of the nation earlier, have finally been hit by the flu season.

As of Jan. 12, the region of the country that includes California, Arizona and Nevada reported elevated flu activity, up from normal flu activity the week before, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rest of the country is also experiencing higher than normal flu activity. Forty-eight states reported widespread flu activity, up from 47 states the week before. Widespread flu activity means that more than 50 percent of areas in those states are experiencing flu. [See Flu Activity Still High: How Long Will it Last?]

Thirty states are now reporting high levels of flu activity — up from 29 states the previous week. Ten states are reporting moderate levels, which is down from 16 states the week before.

Nine children died a result of the flu during the week of Jan. 6 to Jan 12, bringing the total number of child deaths from flu this season to 29.

Nationally, the percentage of people visiting the doctor for flulike illness was 4.6 percent, up from 4.3 percent the last week of December. Health officials said visits to the doctor for flu can dip during the holiday season.

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated. This year's vaccine is 62 percent effective against the disease.

The CDC will hold a press conference about flu season at noon today.

Pass it on: The entire United States is experiencing higher than normal flu activity.

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