Even with flu levels in the state elevated to "widespread," area medical experts said it's not too late to get your flu shot.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Public Health reported that flu activity in the state is widespread, meaning that means that more than 50 percent of a state's geographic regions, such as counties, are experiencing flu activity.

DPH reports that 683 people in the state have tested positive for the contagious respiratory illness.

About 142 people have been hospitalized and two people older than 45 have died from flu. So far, Fairfield County has the highest number of confirmed flu cases, at 239.

Locally, doctors said this level of activity is normal for January, generally considered the peak of flu season. "We've definitely seen an increase" in flu cases, said Dr. Zane Saul, chief of infectious diseases at Bridgeport Hospital. He said there have been some people hospitalized with flu at Bridgeport -- mostly those with other conditions, such diabetes and asthma.

At Greenwich Hospital, infection preventionist Sandra Stricoff said the hospital has had more than 70 people test positive for flu, and the number of people coming in with symptoms has risen. "We're seeing the same trends as the rest of the state," she said.

More Information

CDC tips: Take preventive action
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
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.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doctors have said that H1N1, once dubbed "swine flu," seems to be a predominant strain this year.

Flu season typically starts in October and sees a peak around January, so the state is right on target. Last flu season was particularly robust, with 11,511 positive flu reports and 57 flu-related deaths.

All doctors agreed that one of the best ways to prevent contracting the flu is to get a flu shot -- and no, it's not too late. Many places are still providing flu shots, including most drug store chains, such as Walgreens. Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said Connecticut's store "definitely have an ample supply" of flu vaccine.

Though Caruso said he didn't know how many people have come in seeking flu vaccines, he knows the stores have been busy. "We're definitely in flu season," he said. "We're seeing a rise in flu vaccines and other flu-related products."

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