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News Specialist Sam Penrod reporting The number of flu cases has grown so much that today the State Health Department classified the flu season officially "widespread."
One of the best indicators the flu season is officially here, is attendence records at schools around the state. And when absenteeism is above average, it's clear the flu is just about everywhere.
If you are sneezing, couging, aching, and just feeling horrible right now, chances are you've got the flu!
Nicole Stone of the State Health Department explains, "Influenze usually has a very quick onset, where you might feel fine one minute, and the next minute you have a very bad headache, followed by fever, a cough and a sore throat."
The health department says it has documented 131 cases of influenza from all areas of the state.
The flu season generally runs from November to March and health officials say it's reached the point of being widespread.
The news is no surprise to teachers, who say they are missing on average three to five students a day to illness.
School principal Verneita Hunt says, "We've had anywhere from 50 to 70 kids that have been absent. It's been really tough. Moms are coming in with kids that have been in bed with high fevers for six or seven days."
Public places such as schools can help the flu virus to spread, and educators say it's best to keep your sick children at home.
"Please leave the kids home. Keep them home, get them well. We want their energy up, so when they are back at school they are ready to go."
Young children and the elderly are especially suspetible to the flu and serious complications from it. So far, 42 people have required time in the hospital because of flu.
Doctors say washing your hands frequently may help prevent the flu. Drinking a lot of liquids and getting adequate rest will help you survive the bug. Doctors say antibiotics won't do you any good if you are suffering from the flu.
"We can't say this is the peak. It's just, the last two weeks there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases that have been reported."
Also, if you didn't get a flu shot, officials say it's not too late.