Widespread flu activity is now being reported in 47 states. On Friday though, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a potential silver lining: flu cases appear to be declining in some regions.
Experts won't know how accurate the data is until we move further from the holidays. Doctor's offices are closed during the holiday which may have prevented someone from reporting flu symptoms. The major flu virus spreading this season is known as H3N2 and it's struck early in past years, often hitting hard.
The CDC estimates people receiving this season's vaccine are 62 percent less likely to have to see the doctor with flu symptoms. That estimate is similar to previous flu vaccines. Public health officials say vaccination remains the single best way to reduce chances of getting the flu. They add it may take a couple more weeks before they know for sure whether these latest statistics suggest flu has already peaked in some parts of the country.
Local hospitals are taking extra precautions because of the widespread flu activity. All Trinity Q.C. campuses as well as Genesis-Illini say visitors should not come if they have respiratory infection symptoms. There should be no more than two visitors per patient at a time. Also, children under 18, even siblings, should stay home.