Here is everything you need to know about this year's flu season and what you can do to help prevent becoming a victim:
How many children have died so far?
There have been 30 reported deaths so far this year.
110 children died last year and 92 children died the year before.
288 children died between 2009 and 2010.
How many adults have died?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent doesn't count adult deaths. But, CDC estimates that 8.2% of adult deaths for the week ending Jan. 13
were due to pneumonia and influenza.
Why are so many people dying?
This year's strain, H3N2, is widely considered a nasty one.
The vaccine is only 30 to 40 percent effective.
Many people still don't get the vaccine.
Why does the flu have a "season"?
The influenza virus thrives in the colder months. It also spreads quicker because many people travel during the holidays. The flu season actually
begins in October and ends in May. It peaks between December and February.
Has it reached its peak?
Data suggests that it has and is starting to decline, although experts say it is too soon to know for sure.
Who is the most vulnerable?
The young, especially if they have chronic illnesses and/or comprised immune systems, and people age 65 and older.
Who else is considered high risk?
Women who are pregnant and people with certain medical conditions. American Indians and Alaska natives are also in the high-risk category.
How many healthy children die each year?
Approximately 40 percent of the children who die every year have no preexisting conditions. Such was the case with 10-year-old Connecticuy boy Nico Mallozzi, who died Jan. 14.
What about healthy adults? Kyle Baughman, a 21-year-old personal trainer who was believed to be healthy, died of flu-related organ failure in late December.
What complications can develop from the flu?
What are they symptoms of the flu?
Runny or stuffy nose
Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
Flu symptoms hit suddenly
What are the EMERGENCY signs?
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not waking up or interacting
Pain or pressure in chest or abdomen
Severe or persistent vomiting
Extreme irritability in children
Fever with a rash
Has no tears when crying (baby)
Fewer wet diapers (baby)
How do I know if I have the flu?
The only way to know for sure is to go to the doctor.
How can I protect myself?
1. Get a flu shot
2. Wash your hands often
3. Keep your hands away from your face, especially your mouth and nose.
4. Stay away from people who might be contagious
5. Eat a healthy diet (lots of leafy greens, fruits and extra vegetables)
6. Get plenty of sleep
7. Clean communal surfaces.
8. Wear surgical clothes if caring for someone who is sick.
9. Do not kiss anyone if they are sick.
10. If you sleeping partner is sick, ask them to use their own pillow and sleep on their side.
11. Avoid sharing food with infected people.
What about taking Vitamin C?
It probably won't help if you feel symptoms coming on.
What do I do if I think I have the flu?
If your symptoms are mild and you are not in a high-risk category, you probably do not need medical care. However, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people.
If your symptoms are severe and/or you are high risk, go to a doctor immediately. Antivral medications work best when taken within 2 days of getting sick.
How long should I stay home?
Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.