Flu season has arrived early and is bound to get worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in their latest release of flu data.
“Seasonal flu activity has increased across the country,” the health agency said in its Nov. 28, 2022 issue of the Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. The report covered the week ending Nov. 19.
This year, more than 2,900 people, including 12 children, have died from the flu since October, the CDC said; five of those children died in the week ending November 19.
IN BOSTON, CHILDREN RSV CREATING A ‘CAPACITY DISASTER’ FOR A MAJOR HOSPITAL
An estimated 53,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu so far this season, according to the bureau.
The cumulative number of hospitalizations this year is “higher than the number observed at week 46 during any previous season since 2010-2011,” the report said.
Typically, flu season peaks in the later winter months, the CDC noted.
“This is a serious and early flu season in terms of hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical associate and professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, told Fox News Digital via email on Tuesday. “Several children have died.”
FLU SHOT THIS AUTUMN: THIS IS WHY DOCTORS INSIST WE ALL MAKE IT
He also said: “There are several reasons, one of which is that this is a bad flu strain. We’ve had very mild flu seasons in recent years, so our partial immunity from previous exposure is lacking, and flu shot uptake is reduced – even if it’s this good game year.”
“I believe our immune system is a bit slower to respond due to previous lockdowns, masks” and more, said Dr Marc Siegel.
The flu season “generally peaks” in January-February, he noted, but “it’s already at high levels in many states.”
NEW YORK MOTHER WHOSE BABY STRUGGLED WITH RSV HAS AN URGENT MESSAGE FOR PARENTS
He added: “I also believe 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 activity levels of influenza-like illness (ILI), the CDC said.
Another eight states, plus the District of Columbia, are at 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 identified flu types are subtypes of Influenza A and make up 99.3% of flu samples tested. Influenza B accounts for the remaining 0.7%.
RISE IN RSV MAY BE LINKED TO ‘IMMUNITY DEBT’: DR. MARTY MAKARY
“Of the influenza A viruses detected and subtyped this season, 78% were influenza A (H3N2) and 22% were influenza A (H1N1),” according to the CDC.
The agency recommends that all people over six months old get a flu vaccine, adding that “now is a good time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
Flu is most dangerous for people age 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 and older are being urged to get a special kind of flu vaccine for extra protection, the Associated Press reported.
Seniors are urged to get either the Fluzone High-Dose, Flublok or Fluad Adjuvinated vaccines this year.
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER
Fluzone High-Dose and Flublok each contain higher doses of the main anti-flu ingredient, while Fluad Adjuvanted has an additional specialty ingredient that helps boost people’s immune response, the AP reported.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Seniors can and should ask what kind of flu shot their doctor carries.
If a senior-specific shot isn’t available, they should get a standard flu shot, Fox News Digital previously reported.