This year's flu strain is picking up momentum, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics Friday showing that the number of states reporting widespread activity had doubled over the past week. In addition, the H1N1 swine flu is the predominant strain of influenza in the south-central part of the country.
Earlier this month, only four states — Alabama, Louisiana, New York and Texas — had reported widespread flu activity. Now six more — Alaska, Kansas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming — have joined those states, reporting more than 50 percent of counties or geographical regions experiencing widespread flu activity.
One Huntsville woman, who didn't want her name used, said her 15-year-old granddaughter has been hospitalized with the flu.
"It was terrible," she said. "She couldn't breathe. This year the flu has been horrible and we felt it in our family."
But it could be worse. Associated Press reporter Juan Carlos Llorca said the so-called swine flu has already resulted in 13 deaths in the Houston, Texas area. One of the fatalities included a teenager.
The CDC expects flu activity to increase nationally over the next few weeks, and should peak during the first two months of 2014. While CDC officials do not expect the spread of H1N1 to reach pandemic levels like it did in 2009, they nonetheless recommend vaccinations for anyone over the age of six months.
My husband and our children, ages 6 and 8, both received the flu mist. I guess it's time I take appropriate health measures, as well.