A lot of people in Arizona aren’t feeling very well this week.
The Center for Disease Control reports that 1,196 cases of influenza occurred in Arizona in the final week of 2018, bringing the total for the season so far to 3,216. In Pinal County, there are 322 cases
While that is a normal number of flu cases for this time of year, it propels Arizona into the widespread category, along with New Mexico, California, Nebraska, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Several area hospitals, including Banner Health, have placed restrictions on visitors to prevent the spread of influenza to their patients.
Visitors are restricted if they have a fever, cough or are suffering from vomiting or diarrhea and children younger than 13 are restricted from visiting the hospital, unless:
They are visiting a sibling in the obstetric or pediatric units and do not have a cold or flu symptoms. However, the child may be screened for illness by staff before visiting.
Children 12 years old and younger must have adult supervision at all times in public waiting areas and cafeterias.
Visitors to Banner are asked to wash or sanitize their hands while at the hospital as it is the best way to prevent influenza from spreading.
More than 35,000 cases of lab-confirmed influenza were reported in Arizona last flu season.
Statewide, 1,178 people died from influenza and pneumonia in the 2017-18 flu season, much higher than the 400 to 700 annual average.
Five of the deaths in Arizona were children.
Nationally, over 80,000 people died last flu season, according to the CDC. More than 180 children died and 80 percent of them were not vaccinated.
Last flu season, only 57.9 percent of Americans were vaccinated against the flu, down from 59 percent the year before.