PORTLAND -- Health officals told KGW the Portland Metro area is currently seeing a spike in people suffering from flu symptoms and its most likely linked to holiday travel.

Sitting inside a plane for hours, in particular, can cause an increased spread of the flu.

Dr. Mark Crislip with Legacy Health said patient visits are above average right now for people with the flu. But there are ways to protect yourself from cathing the bug, too.

Hand hygene is important; washing your hands well. If I was going to fly, I have to admit, I woud probably put on a mask. Many kids end up with colds probably from being on an airplane or if we didn't do any kind of flu shot this year, he said.

It's not too late to get the vaccine. Crislip said it still can be effective, even this late in the flu season.

Babies and seniors are especially vulnerable if they get the flu. But the vaccine not only protects each person who gets it, but also the people they come in contact with.

Flu cases have been on the rise nationwide over the past four weeks in a row, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

More: Flu cases up nationwide

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