The Arizona Republic reports that “Several schools reported absence rates of more than 10 percent this week, doctors offices have been packed with miserable kids, and parents are overloading hospital emergency rooms with coughing toddlers and infants struggling to breathe. Since December, Arizona’s flu activity has been widespread, the highest designation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three children have died. There are so many cases that state health officials were scrambling to keep up with flu reports from clinics, schools nurses and other health-care providers, delaying release of their weekly flu report Friday. Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been packed this week with young children battling the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. 
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. In 2009-2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. During the 2010-2011 flu season, CDC expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to cause illness again along with other influenza viruses. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other influenza viruses.
Person to Person ‘” People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. (To avoid this, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, they should use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean their hands. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.)
The Flu Is Contagious ‘” Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others. 
1. Take time to get a flu vaccine. – CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. – Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.