The city of Boston is reporting widespread influenza activity this 2014-2015 season with over 500 flu cases reported by physicians and other health providers to date.

generic influenza virion
3D influenza/CDC

This number includes 144 people requiring hospitalization for their illness and three fatalities.

Health officials say all deaths occurred in individuals at high risk for severe illness with influenza.

Everyone should do their part to prevent getting and spreading the illness. Influenza vaccination gives the best protection and is recommended every year for everyone ages 6 months and older, Boston health officials note.

Although this year’s vaccine does not fully protect against one Type A strain that is circulating (H3N2), it does protect against other types of the influenza virus.

In addition, in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, health care providers should treat suspected influenza cases in high risk individuals (the very young, the very old, and anyone with underlying medical problems) with antiviral medication as soon as possible since treatment is most effective if given early in the illness.

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