New Milford-area residents are being encouraged to get vacinations for influenza.

The week of Dec. 8-14 was National Influenza Vaccination Week.

In Connecticut, influenza (flu) has been "generally increasing during the last eight weeks," according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT-DOH).

Flu cases have now been confirmed in all Connecticut counties except Tolland.

Flu is also rising in New York City and New Jersey and has reached high levels in Texas and Mississippi.

Pneumonia and cardiovascular illness linked with flu account for most flu-associated deaths.

More than 220,000 flu-related hospitalizations occur each year on average, according to the CDC web site.

This total includes 20,000 children under the age of 5. Guidance for parents is available at CDC.gov/flu/school.

Trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines produced this year each target three or four different flu strains and provide far more protection than previously.

For more information, visit www.flushot.healthmap.org and enter your zip code.

In New Milford, flu vaccines are available at the Big Y, Stop & Shop, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies, according to this CT-DOH vaccine finder link.

In addition to vaccination, boosting immune defenses by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest and keeping warm indoors, as well as outside, may help prevent or reduce flu symptoms.

A personal physician may be the best information source for preventing flu and other kinds of winter illness.