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Flu Activity Decreasing in US

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(Image credit: Evah Smit | Stock.Xchng)

Flu season is still upon us, but it appears to be winding down.

As of Feb. 2, the percentage of people visiting the doctor for flu-like illness in the United States was 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent for the week ending Jan. 26, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nineteen states are reporting high levels of flu activity, down from 24 states the week before, the CDC said. And 13 states are reporting low levels of flu activity, up from four states the week before.

Thirty-eight states are reporting widespread flu activity, down from the 42 states the week before. Widespread flu activity means that more than 50 percent of areas in those states are experiencing flu.

This year's flu season has been particularly bad for the elderly — of the 8,293 people hospitalized for flu so far, more than half have been 65 or older, the CDC said. [See Why Is This Year's Flu Season So Bad?]

Fifty-nine children have died this flu season, and 14 of these deaths took place from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot. People who catch the flu can be treated with antiviral medication, but treatment must begin early, within 48 hours of the start of symptoms. People at high risk for complications from the flu, such as the elderly, should visit their doctor promptly if they experience flu symptoms, including fever, cough, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, the CDC said.

Pass it on: Overall flu activity in the United States is decreasing, but the flu season isn't over yet.

This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily on Twitter @MyHealth_MHND. Find us on Facebook.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.