ND Health Department reporting widespread flu activity

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A total of 303 cases were reported during the week ending on December 1, and 204 cases were reported during the week ending on November 25.

Last week, the GP consultation rate for ILI increased to 20.3 per 100,000 population, up from 6.8 per 100,000 the previous week.

The most compelling statistic is the increase in reported flu cases from this time a year ago.

"Even if our vaccine is not a good match to the circulating viruses, there's still research that indicates people who've had a flu shot, if you do still happen to get the flu, the severity of those symptoms are lessened", said Sue Grant, community health services supervisor at the McLean County Health Department.

If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

"If you need to visit your GP or the emergency department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu".

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

The flu can be very contagious.

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"Even if it's not the exact match, it still resembles the flu virus and it will help launch a defense against it", said Isabel Valdez, a physician's assistant at Baylor College of Medicine.

There have been 44 influenza-related hospitalizations so far this season, and two reported deaths caused by the flu.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

"People with underlying chronic conditions may be more susceptible to the flu, so it is especially important for them to be immunized", she said.

Children may experience nausea and vomiting.

The increase has prompted DPHHS to encourage people to take precautions to protect themselves as they travel over the Christmas holiday.

Eat well and drink lots of fluids, such as water, soup and caffeine-free drinks.

Burton has been in nursing since 1989; and has worked in infection prevention for the past seven and a half years.

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