(WVEC) -- With winter in full swing, there’s another danger lurking – the flu.
Dr. Randall Fisher at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD) said the H3N2 strain is dominating this year's flu season.
“We have widespread flu activity throughout the state,” said Dr. Fisher. “Probably in the last two or three weeks, it’s ramped up a little bit.”
The H3N2 strain is considered more severe than others, making people 65 years and older as well as young children more vulnerable to hospitalization and even death.
The Centers for Disease Control says 20 children have died from the flu so far. At the same time last year, only five had died.
“The most important thing is to get flu vaccination if you haven't already gotten it,” said Dr. Fisher. “It's widely available and it’s not expensive.”
Hospitals across the Hampton Roads area are also taking precautions.
In a joint statement -- six hospitals, including Sentara and CHKD, strongly recommend all patients and visitors wear masks inside the hospitals. They also recommended anyone who has flu symptoms to avoid visiting already sick patients.
In order to ward off the flu, Dr. Fisher recommends washing hands frequently, avoid being in the same vicinity of someone who is sick and when sneezing, sneeze into the elbow rather than your hands.