By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a growing number of deaths and hospitalizations blamed on the flu, which is now spreading rapidly across the country.

The CDC says the flu is now widespread in 46 states, which includes the tri-state region.

There are four times as many flu cases now as compared with this time last year.

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It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but the CDC believes it could reach near epidemic levels.

Young children are being especially hard hit.

Eight-month-old Kingston Smith is hospitalized with the flu, among roughly 10,000 children under the age of 4 who have been hospitalized.

“About four days ago, he started breathing hard, vomiting, having fevers, so I drove here to the hospital and they said, ‘Yes, we need to keep him,'” Shareeka, Kingston’s mother said.

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Nationwide influenza is widespread. Of the 100 people who have died from flue so far this season, 13 are children.

“Unfortunately, it can cause a lot of complications. Children can get severely sick, actually need to be in the ICU,” Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist, said.

In New Jersey, there’s been one confirmed pediatric flu related death and 11 severe cases.

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Across the state, there are more than 2,000 confirmed cases. Flu activity is high everywhere but in the South.

Making the problem worse this season is the type of flu that’s spreading: H3N2. The strain tends to hit younger and older people harder than others.

“In years where there is H3N2, we do see far more deaths,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, the CDC influenza division director, said.

In Pennsylvania, where the flu is widespread and more than 11,ooo cases, there have been 18 deaths.

And in Delaware, flu cases increased 48 percent in the first week after the holidays

“It’s possible that a lot of folks got together during the winter holidays. And so, with all those folks getting together, they’re able to transmit flu and then take it and send it onto other folks, and so there’s been a lot of that,” Dr. Jernigan explained.

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Doctors also say this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as effective as years past.

Also, in the Philadelphia-area, flu numbers are lower than other areas.

Comments (8)
  1. I haven’t had the flue since my last flue shot 15 years ago.

  2. When has the flu vaccine ever been effective? Every year we hear about how ineffective “this years” vaccine is. Yet, every year, millions of people dutifully return to Walgreens and pay $9 to pump their body full of whatever ingredients and compounds are in the little tube with the needle at the end.

  3. Thomas Lewis says:

    Two supplements work for me to protect against colds and flu:
    Quercetin is a flavonoid from fruits and vegetables like apples and onions.
    What I do is mornings take 1/2 level teaspoon (about 500 mg) of quercetin dihydrate, which is a yellow, fluffy powder from Bulk Supplements. I order it in a 250 gram bag which lasts about 500 days.
    Quercetin somehow guards and galvanizes my lungs and sinuses and I have not caught my usual winter chest cold for 3 years now. I twice tried to drop the daily quercetin dose to 250 mg or lower but had the sniffles within a month, so it takes at least 400 mg quercetin per day for me to continue to avoid chest colds and flu.

    That still leaves lung and sinus mucus to be thinned, which I do by mornings taking 1/2 level measuring teaspoon of Walmart’s 14 herb Mrs. Dash Table Blend (MDTB) seasoning which should start to liquefy lung mucus in about 2 weeks so it can be coughed up more easily. I buy it in the 6.75 oz size which lasts over 3 months. I actually dip it out now with/as a level 7 inch iced tea spoon because the bottle is a little deep. Increasing the daily dose doesn’t seem to increase the results.
    I eat cheese and dairy but increasing dairy intake seems to increase mucus formation.

    I take both the quercetin powder and MDTB together by washing them down with water.

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