Flu season is picking up, with federal health officials reporting sharp increases in flu activity nationwide.
The number of states experiencing widespread flu activity has now doubled to 24, including Pennsylvania, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The dominating virus this flu season is H1N1, which tends to impact young healthy adults and children. The CDC is urging anyone over 6 months old who hasn’t been vaccinated to get the shot right away.
“It can prevent you from getting sick, and even if you do get sick with influenza it can prevent you from having to go into the hospital. Among hospitalizations so far this year, the highest rates that we are seeing are in those who are under age 5,” said the CDC’S Dr. Daniel Jernigan.
Flu season usually starts in November or early December and peaks in February but activity can last as late as May.
And Jernigan explained, “We actually work with a number of infectious disease modelers and they are forecasting when they think the peak would be and about 75 percent of those forecasts have the peak in late January. But we don’t know if that will be the case.
Last year’s flu season was the deadliest in 40 years and fewer than half of Americans got vaccinated which was a drop. In Pennsylvania, as of January 5, ten people have died of the flu. None were children and all but one, were 50 or older.