Number of flu cases continue to rise

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The number of flu cases in West Michigan continues to rise.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says the southeast region of the state has seen the highest number of hospitalizations because of the virus.

It's striking people really hard between the ages of 20 and 50.

Two people have died from flu-related symptoms in Kalamazoo County. Three people in Kent County have died from flu-related illnesses and the county has seen more than 400 confirmed cases. Van Buren County also has one flu death.

At least three young, healthy people in their 20's have died statewide.

In Kalamazoo, Mark Sanford is one of six people in West Michigan to die from a flu-related illness. We spoke with his daughter who tells us the 60-year-old died Tuesday from the flu and other factors.

She says the virus took over his body very quickly and the family had to take extreme precautions because she has a three-month old child who can't be vaccinated yet.

"They just said it had made his lungs so bad to the point where he couldn't lay on his back and there was pretty much no way to recover from it," said Brandie Rolland.

You can keep track of local outbreaks through your smartphone. Web MD has an app that tracks outbreaks in your zip code. The free app also includes your local resources and tips to avoid getting sick.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also tracks flu outbreaks on their site, along with resources about flu symptoms and treatment.

Google is helping you out during this flu season by tracking patterns that correlate with real outbreaks.

But tracking it is not enough. Doctors say you need to be vaccinated. They say it is not too late because the flu is still hasn't yet peaked.

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