There is a serious flu outbreak this year," said Lillie M. Lewis, director of marketing at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center.
"There have been some deaths from it and there have been a lot of people sick."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, New Mexico has joined 40 other states where the flu is now considered "widespread.
recently labeled the 2013 flu season as one of the worst in the last 10 years.
said that the flu season doesn't usually hit the Tularosa Basin until around February.
"We are seeing increased symptoms of the flu in our emergency department," she
"So far in January, we have seen 40 people come through our ER with flu-like symptoms," Lewis
"That is what we have seen and it is only early January."
said Las Cruces hospitals have reported more positive flu test than at any time during the last few years.
Lewis recommends pregnant women speak with their obstetrician before getting a flu shot.
Lewis also said people with chronic illnesses should speak with their physician before getting the vaccine.
said people who aren't feeling well should get a lot of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
staff recommends people who are sick stay away from others as much as possible to avoid spreading the flu.
But if people must leave home it is a good idea to wear a face mask.
"We want to reach out to the community to let people know that this flu is out there and to take it seriously," Lewis