Local and state health officials say the flu is more widespread across the state now with more outbreaks seen in North Central Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Flu season started early this winter, and includes a strain that tends to make people sicker.

TDSHC urges people to follow five simple steps to help prevent and reduce flu symptoms.

Get vaccinated.

Wash hands frequently.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Convince those around you to follow steps 1 - 4.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before. But many cases may be mild. The only states without widespread flu are California, Mississippi and Hawaii.

The hardest hit states dropped to 24 from 29.

So far, 20 children have died from the flu. There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.

Experts say it's too early to say if this is a bad year.