HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A nasty flu season is only getting worse in the U.S.
The good news for the islands: Hawaii remains the only state that doesn't have widespread illnesses.
But officials don't think that will be the case forever — so they're urging people to get the flu vaccine and take steps to stop the spread of illness.
That means if you do get sick, stay home, wash your hands, and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.
The CDC says everyone 6 months old and above the flu vaccine this year.
This year's flu season has been brutal on the mainland, and is responsible for dozens of deaths.
It got off to an early start, and was driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu bugs. In New York, state officials say a drastic rise in flu cases hospitalized more than 1,600 this past week, the Associated Press reported.
The flu became intense last month in the U.S. The last two weekly report show flu widespread over the entire continental United States, which is unusual.
Usually, flu seasons start to wane after so much activity, but CDC aren't sure that will happen this time around.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus.
It can cause a miserable but relatively mild illness in many people, but more severe illness in others.
Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications.
In a bad season, there as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu. In the U.S., annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.
In Oklahoma and Texas, some school districts canceled classes this week because so many students and teachers were sick with the flu and other illnesses. In Mississippi, flu outbreaks have hit more than 100 nursing homes and other long-term care places, resulting in some restricting visitors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.