Flu activity across the United States surged in early February, and infections could continue to increase until March, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deaths from flu-related conditions are at high levels, and the CDC reported that hospitalizations for children under 4 and adults over 65 are up. Hospitalizations for people in their 50s and 60s are also increasing. Health officials state that it is not too late to get a flu shot — the vaccine takes effect in about two weeks. Flu activity is especially severe now in the South, some Midwestern areas and in the East, particularly Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Circulating viruses include H3N2, H1N1 and B, which are all contained in this year’s flu vaccine.
The CDC continues to recommend that anyone 6 months old and older get a flu shot. The high-risk group includes the elderly, chronically ill and pregnant women. Mothers of newborns should also be vaccinated to protect their newborns, who cannot receive the vaccine until they’re 6 months old.