Flu outbreak already reported in 36 states, CDC says

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Open visitation will resume as soon as health officials determine the flu threat has abated, the release states.

- With the flu now considered "widespread" across Minnesota, according to the state health department, hospitals are implementing visitor restrictions.

Common symptoms include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Cases of Influenza A, the more severe strain, and Influenza B have already been confirmed.

You can find information on preventing and treating the flu here.

However, county officials stressed that "In reality, every year is a bad flu year for the people who get sick".

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Over the last week, flu numbers have more than doubled from previous weeks, and the numbers continue to climb, according to Chanda Newsome, infection control and prevention coordinator. Eleven adults have died in our state. "While vaccination offers the best protection we have against influenza, it's still possible that some people may become ill despite being vaccinated but their illness will be much milder".

The flu is already gripping 36 states and has killed at least 70 people in the U.S., according to data released by the CDC on Friday. "Those things make us concerned that we're going to have a lot of sick people".

Arnold says the IDPH is still recommending a flu shot, even though it may not be as effective as in years past.

It's very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions.

A map provided by the Cook County Dept. of Public Health shows concentrations by zip code of those presenting flu-like symptoms in emergency room visits in the North and Northwest Suburbs this week. Also, the influenza vaccine effectiveness is generally lower against the A (H3N2) strain.

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