Flu peaking nationwide, rising in Washingtonon January 25, 2013 @ 11:41 am (Updated: 1:18 pm - 1/25/13 )
Emergency room visits are one indicator of flu activity according to Donn Moyer, spokesman for the state Health Department.
"Those types of visits are continuing to increase throughout the state," he said.
Figures show less flu activity nationwide, except for the west, southwest and northwest.
The flu death toll continues to rise in Washington.
"The sad result of flu, often, is death, especially for certain groups of people and older people are among them," said Moyer. "We've had 17 laboratory-confirmed deaths in Washington this season and 15 of them were 70 and older."
The Snohomish Health District reports Friday that flu outbreaks have happened at nine longterm care facilities through Jan. 19, compared to one facility reporting flu in the 2011-2012 flu season
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 37 children have died from flu this season.
Flu is considered widespread in Washington but the level of flu activity varies in different parts of the state.
"For example, it started a little bit earlier in Puget Sound than it did in Eastern Washington and then it spread throughout Western Washington, so we are still in the midst of it, flu activity is increasing in both parts of the state and we expect that to continue for a little bit," said Moyer.
The Center for Disease Control reports 133 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed so far this season and vaccine is still available and recommended. Gov. Jay Inslee just got his flu shot at a pharmacy Thursday in Tumwater, Wash. Moyer recommends calling around to doctor offices, clinics and pharmacies to check on availability.
A free flu vaccine clinic for uninsured adults is Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Comcast Skate Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett, Wash.
The CDC says we still have five-to-seven weeks of elevated flu season to endure.
"Right now, it's looking like January or February for a peak, but flu continues well beyond that and we can have cases clear into the spring, so getting your flu shot now will protect you and your family throughout the next few weeks and months to come," said Moyer.
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