72
      Saturday
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      Sunday
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      Monday
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      Intense flu season for the U.S.

      With the 2012-2013 influenza season at its peak, many are feeling the ill effects of the virus.

      Forty-seven states in the U.S. have reported intense levels of the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Michigan alone has reported more than 330 cases, and four children have died from the virus.

      The CDC is predicting the 2012-2013 flu season to be one of the worst nationwide recorded in a decade.

      So far, the elderly have been hit the hardest, with 1,100 people being hospitalized with the flu, with 60 percent over the age of 65.

      Hospitals and medical care facilities have taken extra precautions this season in addition to their normal routine.Visitor restrictions have been put in place until further notice, and people who are able to visit are being asked to consistently wash their hands and wear a mask if they feel sick.

      Teresa Luetzow of the Marquette County Medical Care Facility says there are a few things you can do to avoid catching the flu.

      "The main thing is get your flu shot. Secondly, handwashing. Stay away from crowded places as much as possible, too. If you're going to go to somewhere where there is a crowd, there's probably going to be people there with the virus," says Luetzow.

      Everyone six months and older should get the vaccine. Everyone that does get it should be aware that it takes up to two weeks for the antibodies to fully develop to prevent the flu.

      Dr. Chris Dehlin says disinfectant is a great flu fighter, but there is one thing that is most effective.

      "I think just regular hand hygiene is important. Washing your hands if you cough or sneeze, the hand gels really make that pretty easy, and most people have those in their homes," says Dr. Dehlin.

      Avoiding close contact with sick people and frequently disinfecting your household are two effective ways to prevent catching or spreading the flu.