Flu on the Rise in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Health officials say the number of influenza cases in Arkansas is on the rise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says Arkansas is experiencing regional outbreaks.  The state Health Department says that's likely to be elevated to a "widespread" designation by next week.

At Arkansas Children's Hospital, Dr. Terry Yamauchi says the number of flu patients is rising sharply.

The Health Department's Dr. Sandra Snow says that the flu is passed person to person, so people who are sick should stay home from school or work.  She says frequent hand washing and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing can help slow the spread of the virus.  Doctors say not shaking hands this time of year is also a good idea.

Also, doctors say it's not too late to get a flu vaccine.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)