Three people in Maine have died from the flu this season

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Three people in Maine have died from flu this season.

That's according to the Maine Center for Disease Control which says there were more than 500 confirmed flue cases through January 5th.

That's down from 768 at this time last year.

Health officials say 53 people have been hospitalized because of flu this season.

Experts say the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.

"It is not too late to get your vaccine if you haven't gotten it yet," said Senior Vice President at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, James Jarvis. "That is the most important protective thing that you can do. Next would be to practice good hand hygiene; washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, cleaning surfaces like your cell phone or your desk phone at your office or any other thing that your hands will touch on a regular basis, and then practicing good cough etiquette which means either coughing or sneezing into a tissue, or if you don't have a tissue available, into your elbow, and that just helps to prevent the spread of disease."

Officials say this year's strain tends to have less severe symptoms than the predominant strain that circulated last year.