The current winter season in Mexico has left 40 people dead from problems derived from cold and another 32 from flu, the Health Secretariat said.

The agency said in a communique that of the fatalities from cold, 30 were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, seven from hypothermia and three from burns, all of which could be directly attributed to the cold itself or attempts to keep warm.

Most of the deaths occurred in the northern states of the country, with 20 in Chihuahua, six in Durango, four in Sonora, two in Baja California, two in Nuevo León and one in Coahuila. Of the central states, Hidalgo had two deaths, Guanajuato had one and Puebla one, while the western state of Jalisco had one more.

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As for respiratory illnesses, the secretariat said that up to Friday, 1,623 cases and 32 deaths had been caused by the contagion of different flu viruses.

Of that total, in 1,456 cases and 29 deaths the seasonal flu virus AH1N1 was confirmed and has been the principal virus since the beginning of the year. The same virus in 2009 led authorities to declare a state of emergency.

The secretariat said that currently in Mexico there are three seasonal flu viruses that are active: AH1N1, AH3N2, and the B flu, which were identified in Central and South America in 2011, and this winter are affecting North America.

The agency said that to date this year there have been 1.3 million doctor's visits nationwide for severe respiratory infections, while some 7,801 cases of pneumonia and bronchopneumonia have been treated.

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He said that in the second week of this year, eight out of every 1,000 doctor's visits were for flu-like respiratory ailments.

The Health Secretariat recommended that the population follow preventive procedures such as building up the body's defenses with food rich in vitamins C and D, as well as drinking abundant liquids, wearing warm clothing and avoiding exposure to environmental contaminants.

People should also see a doctor if they have a fever that lasts more than three days or if they experience breathing difficulties, among other symptoms.

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