Rhode Island health officials said Monday that a widespread flu outbreak is expected in the state.
Federal health officials said flu is widespread in Massachusetts, New York and eight other states.
Dr. Michael Fine, the Rhode Island's health director, said his flu cases and Massachusetts are now considered widespread and that physician visits for flulike symptoms are up.
He said that means it's time to stop procrastinating and get a flu shot, especially if you're a young adult.
"In a typical year (we) worry about the elderly and infants, this year around the country we're seeing hospitalizations and even deaths in young adults. So regardless of who you are, it's a good year to be immunized," Fine said.
Fine said this year's vaccine is effective in preventing the H1N1, or swine flu, strain. It takes two weeks for the flu shot to kick in and effectively prevent the strains of flu it protects against.
Fine said people need to get the shot in the next day or two because he expects a major outbreak of flu in two to three weeks.