ATLANTA (Gray News) – The U.S. flu season is hitting children and young adults much harder than the rest of the population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
“Rates among school-aged children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons and rates among children 0-4 years old are now the highest CDC has on record at this point in the season,” the CDC said.
A total of 125 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. That’s an increase of 20 since last week’s report.
The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 32 million flu illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths from flu.
The latest CDC forecast predicts flu activity is likely to decrease over the next few weeks but will remain elevated into March.
Flu was widespread in Puerto Rico and 48 states. In Hawaii, Oregon, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the outbreaks are less active.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
A recent CDC report shows getting the vaccine reduces a child’s risk of going to the doctor with flu by 55% and by 45% overall.
It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu after your vaccination.