Flu season has arrived early and can only get worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in their latest flu data release.
“Seasonal influenza activity is high across the country,” the health agency said in its Nov. 28, 2022 edition of the Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report. The report covered the week ending November 19.
This year, more than 2,900 people, including 12 children, have died of the flu since October, the CDC said; five of those children died the week ending November 19.
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An estimated 53,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu so far this season, the agency said.
The cumulative hospitalization rate this year is “higher than the rate seen in week 46 in each previous season since 2010-11,” the report noted.
Typically, flu season peaks in the last winter months, the CDC noted.
“This is a severe and early flu season in terms of the number of hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News medical contributor and professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. York, to Fox News Digital via email on Tuesday. “Several children died.”
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He also said: “There are a number of reasons, including that it’s a bad strain of flu. We’ve had very mild flu seasons in recent years, so our partial immunity to previous exposure makes default and flu shot uptake is down – even though it’s been a good game this year.”
“I believe our immune system is a bit slower to respond because of previous lockdowns, masks” and more, Dr. Marc Siegel said.
Flu season “usually peaks” in January-February, he noted, but “it’s already at high levels in many states.”
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He added: ‘Also, I think our immune system is a bit slower to respond due to previous lockdowns, masks’ and more.
Three states — Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee — have the highest level of influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, the CDC said.
Eight other states, plus the District of Columbia, are in the second highest level of ILI activity.
Only four states — Alaska, Michigan, New Hampshire and Vermont — have “minimal” levels of ILI activity, the CDC noted.
The vast majority of influenza types identified are influenza A subtypes, accounting for 99.3% of influenza samples tested. Influenza B accounts for the remaining 0.7%.
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“Of the influenza A viruses detected and subtyped this season, 78% were influenza A(H3N2) and 22% were influenza A(H1N1),” the CDC said.
The agency advises everyone over the age of six months to get a flu shot, adding that “now is a good time to get the flu shot if you haven’t already.”
The flu is most dangerous for people 65 and older, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, including heart and lung disease, Fox News Digital previously reported.
This year, people 65 or older are being urged to get the flu shot for extra protection, the Associated Press reported.
Seniors are encouraged to receive Fluzone High-Dose, Flublok or Fluad Adjuvinated vaccines this year.
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Fluzone High-Dose and Flublok each contain higher doses of the main flu-fighting ingredient, while Fluad Adjuvanted contains an additional special ingredient that helps boost people’s immune response, the AP reported.
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Seniors can and should ask what type of flu shot their doctor has.
If a vaccine specific to seniors isn’t available, they should get a standard flu shot, Fox News Digital reported earlier.