The number of flu cases across the country is continuing to rise.

New figures from the Health Service Executive show that an additional 254 people were admitted to hospital last week, suffering from influenza.

It brings the total number of people hospitalised with flu this season to 545.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said the majority of the hospitalisations were related to influenza A.

The number of deaths from flu is also continuing to increase.

There have been nine deaths linked to the flu so far this season, 3 more than during the first week of January.

The influenza season began late this year.

However, the HSE said it is still not too late to get vaccinated, especially for those in an at-risk group as well as healthcare workers.

The vaccination is recommended in particular for people aged over 65, anyone with a long-term health condition such as chronic heart disease, and also pregnant women.

Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue.

The symptoms of a cold are generally milder.

On average, between 60 and 120 deaths are recorded during the flu season.