PORTLAND, Ore. – Two children in Oregon have died from the flu as an outbreak continues to hit the nation hard, state health officials said.

According to Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie, one child was younger than 5 and the other was younger than 10.

Their names and where they lived have not been released.

No children died from the flu in Oregon last year.

More: Flu cases rising across Oregon, Washington, Idaho; some deaths reported

During the last week of December, the latest statistics available, five percent of ER visits in Oregon were for the flu. That marks a new high in the past five years, Modie said, surpassing the four percent last year.

Oregon is one of 36 states nationwide reporting high levels of a flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the tri-county Portland area, nearly 200 people were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms the last week of December, compared to 140 the week before.

Watch: Doctor answers viewer flu questions

Health officials say this year's flu vaccination has not been particularly effective.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. People older than 65, pregnant women and young children are at higher risk from the flu.

More: Emergency warning signs from the flu

The CDC says there are everyday actions we all can take to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.