TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- After a deadly flu season last year, we could be in for another tough flu season. That's according to health officials.
Indiana has seen three flu-related deaths so far. That number was 25 this time last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 80,000 people died of the flu and it's complications last season.
The number of children who have died because of the flu this season is up to 13. The CDC reports about half of the children who have died from the flu at healthy. 80% of the children who died last season did not get a flu shot.
Officials say children are particularly vulnerable to H1N1--otherwise known as the "swine flu." Local doctors says H1N1 is this year's pre-dominant flu strain.
"The Indiana Department of Health had listed three deaths in the state of Indiana due to influenza," Dr. John Bolinger, chief medical officer at Union Hospital said. "All of them except one was over the age of 65."
The CDC reports the flu season began in October and runs through May. With months of flu season left, officials say it's not too late to get vaccinated.
Dr. Bolinger says the best tip to battle the flu is washing your hands thouroughly. He says to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you're sick, stay at home and get better in order to prevent yourself from spreading it more. If you have a fever, sore throat, body aches, see your primary doctor sooner rather than later.
"Most risk for flu and high number of cases of flu are in areas where people congregate or people live in the same living situations," Dr. Bolinger said.
He says he sees the most flu activity in nursing facilities, jail populations, restaurants, schools--anywhere where there is a large amount of people together. Dr. Bolinger says he highly recommends the flu vaccine. It's always better than no vaccine. He says, if you get the flu, you have a higher risk if you didn't get vaccinated.