COLUMBUS (WCMH) — New disturbing numbers about the deadly flu outbreak have emerged. The CDC reported 16 more children have died across the country. That brings the nationwide number of child flu-related deaths to 53.

This year’s flu season is fierce, with at least 40 reported deaths in the state occurring to health officials.

The Ohio Department of Health says there have been more than 8,600 influenza-associated hospitalizations this flu season alone.

Doctors say the number of people infected with the flu seems to be high because not everyone goes to the doctor when they are sick.

“We are seeing a little bit of a decline over the last week or two in total numbers of people coming in with the flu but there is still a lot,” said Glenn Williams, Medical Director of Urgent Care at Ohio Health.

The big question that many are asking is how can someone die from influenza?

“The flu virus can get deep in your lungs your immune system responds and you get mucus and fluids and then other bacteria grows and develops and cause pneumonia,” said Williams.

Williams says children under the age of five and adults over the age of 65 are most at risk.

“Other people, that bacteria will get into the bloodstream and causes something called sepsis and go to all your organs and your body and that can cause you to die.”

Doctors too are not taking this flu season lightly. Because they are treating so many with the flu, nurses and doctors are taking extra precautions to avoid getting sick.

“We know our enemy. We are watching hands. We are trying to stay away from it as much as we can but sometimes it’s inevitable.”