INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The number of flu-related deaths continues to rise, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

Officials say 11 people have died from the flu so far this season. This is 7 more deaths than the previous week.

Of the deaths this season, 3 were between 50-64 years old and 8 were at least 65 years old.

While there have been no pediatric flu deaths in Indiana, there have been 14 pediatric deaths nationwide. Riley Hospital for Children reported 314 cases of patients with the virus in November compared to just four positive tests in October.

Nationwide, there have been 19,593 people admitted to the hospital with influenza over the last week. This is almost double the number of people that were hospitalized in the previous week.

So far this season, the CDC estimates there have been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations, and 4,500 deaths from flu. The hospitalization rate is higher than the rate seen at the same time during every previous season since 2010-2011.

The CDC says the highest rate of hospitalization is among adults aged 65 and older followed by children aged 0-4 years.

The CDC says the majority of influenza viruses tested are similar to those included in this season’s vaccine. That is why they are encouraging everyone older than 6 months to get vaccinated.

The CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.