KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri and Kansas have each reported three influenza-related deaths this year as flu season kicks into high gear.
When combining pneumonia and influenza, Kansas reported 296 total deaths so far this year. Missouri reported 317, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week alone, 264 new cases of the flu were reported in Missouri. Kansas had 213.
Health department officials for both states encourage residents to get their flu shot to protect from the illness.
It's also important to avoid sick people, wash hands often, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, disinfect common surfaces and stay home while you're sick.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, tiredness and occasional vomiting and diarrhea.
If you suspect you have the flu, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, treat symptoms with over-the-counter medicines and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Children, older adults, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for complications and should visit a doctor.