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On average, 200,000 Americans go to the hospital with the flu every year. And, depending on the severity of the season, thousands of people can lose their lives. Below are some things that the CDC has outlined to help stay informed and protected this flu seasoned.

Flu activity is on the rise across the country and is increasing nationwide. Several more weeks of high flu activity is expected. So far, 41 states are reporting widespread flu. You can view flu activity levels in each state here.

At greatest risk are young people and middle-age adults, especially those that prone to serious illness or with weakened immune systems. Most importantly is understanding that the flu can be serious for anyone – young, middle age or elderly.

Vaccinations are a good idea. This year’s flu vaccines are designed to protect against H1N1, the most common flu virus so far this season.

Prescription medications can help if you have become sick with the flu. In fact, these medications can reduce the risk of serious complications and are most effective when used at the start of the virus and as such seeing a doctor right away is recommended.

For more on the flu, visit CDC’s Flu webpage.

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