Summer may still be lingering, but federal health officials are already urging people to start prepping for another potentially nasty flu season after last year’s was particularly deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu during last season with epidemic levels of influenza or pneumonia for 16 consecutive weeks. Some 180 children died from the most recent bout of flu. The vaccine isn’t perfect, but it offers the best protection against what can be a dangerous illness, the CDC said. About 80 percent of the children who died from the flu last season weren’t vaccinated.
“Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death,” the CDC said on its website, adding that millions of people get the flu every year and thousands die from flu-related causes.
The season typically runs from October and can run as late as May, with activity tending to peak between December and February, according to the CDC. Yet the federal agency recommends getting vaccinated early, ideally by the end of October, before flu starts spreading.