UPDATE 1/4/13 @ 5:45 pm
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Karen Kent was rolling up her sleeve.
Worried after hearing it has been the worst flu season in years, Kent was getting a flu shot Friday at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
"I've been procrastinating," Kent said. "I've seen it on the news, and I just figured it was time."
West Virginia and 43 other states in the United States are reporting widespread flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In West Virginia alone, there are more than 10,000 documented cases.
"The real flu is a killer," says Dr. Harry Tweel, director of the Cabell Huntington Health Department. "The only difference about flu this year is it's happening earlier."
This year, Cabell County Schools held a countywide Flu Mist Awareness Campaign for kindergartens.
"We sent a letter home to parents with warning signs for flu," says school nurse Wendy Barker. "Fever, cough, nausea, or if your child is unusually full of mucus. They'll need to stay home until these symptoms are gone for 24 hours to prevent the spread to other children."
In all of December 2011, there were 6,658 cases. During the same period, there were 6,245 cases in 2010, 8,961 in 2009, 6.271 in 2008 and 7,217 in 2007.
The Centers for Disease Control says West Virginia is among 31 states reporting widespread flu activity.
Brandon Merritt with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department tells the Associated Press that the number of confirmed flu cases across the state has increased steadily for five consecutive weeks.
Merritt says most of the cases are influenza A H3, which is included in this year's flu vaccine.
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