TODAY   |  January 04, 2014

25 states report widespread cases of the flu

The number of states reporting widespread flu activity more than doubled in the course of a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. TODAY’s Erica Hill interviews NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman about how to prevent illness.

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>>> an unusual number of people around you, if they seem to be getting sick lately it could be because of the fast rise of the flu. the centers for disease control saying a number of states reporting widespread flu activity more than double in two weeks from so e10 to 25. dr. nancy snyderman has more for us this morning.

>> hey, erica.

>> we are seeing the large increases in the number of people reporting the flu. hopefully, a lot of people have been vaccinated. is it effective against the strain we are seeing?

>> it's effective against h1n1 we saw a couple of years ago and widespread supply so no reason not to get a flu shot now. still a lot of kids home from college so this is a perfect time to get the vac keecines the antibodies have kicked in when you go back to college.

>> remember at all talking about the kid and elderly most at risk. why is that?

>> we usually talk about -- you're right, elderly and kids systems and the very young and pockets of particularly young and a pocket in michigan right now where young adolescents on life support and kidney failure. i talked to the cdc yesterday. not that they are more vulnerable but influenza can hit anyone. the vulnerable think i don't have to get a flu shot , it is really for those other people and why they are getting hit. no one seems to know, but at least this flu season , you're right, young, otherwise invulnerable people are getting smacked hard. in this case on death's door. on another reminder that influ influenza is serious problem.

>> there is a stomach bug that seems to be going around. i know we have seen a lot of it here. is it in any way related to the flu strains you're seeing?

>> they are aren't related at all. influenza is a pulmonary infection you get a hard painful cough and fever and aches, pains, chills. you know it and you're out of commission for two weeks. another virus going around and you may remember when hillary clinton got sick, dehydrated and passed out and konked her head, she had a virus and a lot of our communities got that thereafter. i think that has trickled through and we have seen neuro virus is a gi virus and even though people call it the stomach flu or stomach bug there is really no correlation. that is vomiting and diarrhea. influenza is the flu and a stomach bug is really a gi problem and they don't have anything in common.

>> the we hope everyone watching gets neither of them.

>> the other thing they don't have in common there is no vaccine for the stomach stuff. there is a great vaccine for influenza.

>> nice to see you, dr. nancy snyderman .

>> you too, irka.