While there have been reports that this year's flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective, local specialists said that's not necessarily the case in the Northstate.
Health officials are reporting a spike in the number of flu cases across New Mexico in the last few weeks.
That figure only represents the relatively small number of people chosen for testing, he explained, but it still provides a valuable snapshot of the bigger picture.
Others at high risk of getting the flu are children under age 5, pregnant women and those with underlying conditions such as lung or heart disease.
Infectious Disease Specialist with the Missoula County Health Department, Pam Whitney, said one specific strain of the flu has been hard to contain. "So far, 613 cases have been confirmed with the majority being the H3N2 and we've had 115 people hospitalized across Montana and we've had eight deaths".
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that there have been seven more flu deaths, raising this season's total to 20.
"We anticipate that we'll have this increased activity for at least quite some time", said Tan.
Staff at each facility is urged to get the flu shot and if they begin to look sick, they will be sent home right away. While critics are quick to jump on the flu vaccine's relative ineffectiveness against H3N2 - studies indicate vaccine effectiveness is, at most, 30 percent - Dean recommends the shot for everyone aged 6 months and older.
On average, 400 to 600 people die in Ireland every year due to flu-related causes. "We had a confirmed case in August past year".
He said with the vaccine, even if you get sick, it won't likely be as severe, and the vaccine is also effective against other forms of influenza like H1 and Influenza B.
"Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean", said Brandie Anderson, director of infection prevention at Banner-University Medical Center.
Three facilities in the Interior are also dealing with outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness, but Interior Health says that is different from seasonal flu. The hospital took patients who arrived in the emergency room other than by ambulance, Matuska said.