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Flu season hits Oregon early and hard: 'It's going to be with us for a while'

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Flu season in the Pacific Northwest typically peaks later in January, but doctors say they're seeing more people hospitalized for the virus this flu season.

RELATED: Two Oregon children die of flu this season, public health official says

"That's beginning to go down slightly compared to the number of hospitalizations last week," said Dr. Richard Leman, a Medical Epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority.

Leman says it's too early to tell whether this trend will continue.

"The flu is going to be with us for a while and getting vaccinated is the single best thing you can do to prevent the flu," said Dr. Dawn Nolt, of OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

OHA says the flu shot is only 50 percent effective against the most common strain of influenza that we see in the Pacific Northwest. Its success rate is less against other strains.

They advise people get the flu shot since it can help build up people's immune system and thwart some of the symptoms of the flu.

"If you get vaccinated, even if it doesn't completely prevent you from getting flu outright, it can make the disease less severe," Dr. Nolt said.

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