Posted: Jan 18, 2013 12:59 PM by Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) - The number of older people hospitalized with the flu has risen sharply. And it's prompting federal officials to take unusual steps to make more flu medicines available, and to urge wider use of them as soon as symptoms appear.
About halfway through the flu season, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's "shaping up to be a worse-than-average season" -- and a bad one for the elderly.
Dr. Thomas Frieden says it's not too late to get a flu shot. And he's telling people who have flu symptoms to stay home from work, keep their kids home from school, and avoid spreading the virus.
So far, half of confirmed flu cases are in people 65 and older. About 90 percent of flu deaths are in the elderly -- but also at risk are the very young and people with other health problems such as diabetes.
Nine more children or teens have died of the flu, bringing the nation's total this flu season to 29.
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