Healthy Living: CDC says flu cases this year are double; get vaccinated

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show flu cases this year have doubled the number this time, last year.  In the last week, cases in Washington State are also on the rise.  Four states are reporting widespread flu activity including Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia.

The CDC says more than 148 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed this season and it's not too late to get the shot.  Typically it takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to work.

Doctors say December through February is the peak of flu season and you need to get your shot as soon as possible.  According to the CDC, the best way *not* to get the flu, is to get vaccinated.  Health experts recommend everyone over the age of 6-months get the vaccine.  The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization among children and adults

Dr. Matthew Bressie with Pacific Medical Centers says "Even if you're at low risk, you're young and otherwise healthy, if you get vaccinated that means there's one less person to spread the virus to others.  So it's one of the ways as a community that we can take care of each other."

Other ways to stay healthy that you may not think of include staying active and managing stress, which can help give your immune system a boost.   According to the Washington State Department of Health, there have been four flu deaths in Washington so far this season.  In each of the cases, the person was 65-years-old or older.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is spread mainly through droplets in the air when people cough, sneeze or talk.  It can spread up to about six feet away.  The CDC says most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.  Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days.