RICHMOND, VA—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said flu was widespread in 47 states, including Virginia, last week, up from 41 the week before.
With the flu more widespread across the nation, the Richmond Public Health Department is urging citizens to get a flu vaccine.
The Richmond City Health District is reminding residents that it's not too late to get the flu vaccine and says the vaccine is the best protection against the virus.
In addition to getting a flu vaccine, The Richmond City Health District said other precautions should be taken to prevent spreading the flu to others and also to avoid catching the flu.
• Stay home from work and school when sick. Parents should keep children home from school for at least 24 hours after they are free of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. • Cover your cough; cough into the bend of your arm or a tissue or handkerchief • Avoid close contact with people who have the flu. If you're a caretaker or in the home with a sick family member – wash your hands a lot, clean surfaces, use separate eating utensils and toiletries, stay in separate rooms if possible. • Do not visit persons in hospitals, nursing homes and other group settings if you're at all sick • Avoid close contact with other persons who are sick • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating • Eat fruits and veggies, avoid stress and get plenty of rest (*these same precautions should be followed to prevent spread of other illnesses such as norovirus and colds)
The Richmond City Health District offers free flu shots at its Immunization Clinic, located at 400 E. Cary Street on Tuesdays, with registration from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Thursdays, with registration from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
The CDC estimates that the flu kills some 24,000 people in an average year. So far, 20 children have died from the flu; there is no running tally of adult deaths.
Experts say it's too early to say if this is a bad year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond.