The flu is officially an epidemic in the US

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Montana is current seeing widespread influenza activity and the CDC is also warning the public about the potential severity this flu season poses. "When H3 viruses are predominant, we tend to have a worse flu season with more hospitalizations and more deaths".

The CDC says those who come down with the bug can take antiviral drugs, which are available by prescription and can have some impact if taken within the first three days of infection.

It's shaping to be one of the worst flu seasons in recent years.

This is according to information from the January 12 press conference with CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald and Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division in the CDC's National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases.

Children under the age of one, adults age 65 and older and people suffering from certain medial conditions are at a higher risk of serious complications associated with the flu.

In Washington, 46 people have died from the flu since October, and many emergency rooms are crowded.

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Staying away from work, or school, is best way to stop the spread of the flu, the health departments said. There have also been more flu-related deaths this year. Some initial reports have said this year's vaccine is only 10 percent effective, though experts have said that statistic may not tell the full story. But health officials emphasize that even a poor match increases immunity and can reduce symptoms for an individual who gets the flu.

Appointments must be made to receive flu vaccine, and are now being scheduled at the clinic.

In the briefing, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, indicated that while influenza surveillance systems suggest that the flu season may be peaking in these recent weeks, it will likely take several more weeks before influenza activity slows down.

J. Patrick O'Neal believes it is not too late to get a flu shot.

Make sure to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands and get a flu shot. Common symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, headache and exhaustion.

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