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"Although influenza season usually peaks between December and February, flu activity can occur as late as May, which means it is not too late to get vaccinated". The vaccination still offers protection against other strains of the virus, and the California Department of Public Health says 70% of the people who died from flu there so far were not vaccinated.

Three people have died from flu-related deaths this season, according to the Lake County General Health District.

The Public Health Department released its latest figures on influenza Thursday, reporting that as of January 6, a total of 1,015 people came down with the seasonal infectious respiratory ailment, and 456 needed to be hospitalized.

She said the first flu case Marshall Medical Center received was September 27, followed by 11 in October.

From Dec. 1 through Dec. 23 Marshall Medical Center saw 90 patients per day and since Dec. 24 through January 10 they've seen 100 a day, according to Scott Hall, emergency department assistant director.

The number of cases is now at the highest in three years, but still nearly 50% lower than the swine flu outbreak of 2010.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully.

While there have been reports the vaccine has been less effective than normal this year, Chambers said it can still help even if the vaccine was designed for a different strain.

It's unclear, yet, if that type of severity will appear here, Jernigan said. "Getting the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself and others from flu".

Rates of people age 50 and older that needed to be hospitalized for influenza spiked significantly in recent weeks from 15.4 to 24, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases influenza division, during a media conference call Friday.

· 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.

The CDC is warning that all high-risk patients with flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible.

CDPH closely tracks influenza and posts updated information on the CDPH Influenza website at the end of the work week.

Baptist Health Madisonville has reported 48 hospitalizations for the flu since January 1.

Some long-term care facilities have issued warnings on the west coast and in central Newfoundland, restricting visitation as a precaution against the flu season.