Indicators the CDC uses to track influenza-like activity found that this season is similar to the season of high severity in 2014-2015.
According to data compiled by the New Hampshire health department, school absences due to flu-like illnesses were reported at a rate of 1.1 percent for the week of January 28 to February 3, an increase from 0.8 percent the week prior.
Thomas said that children as young as 6 months old can get a flu shot. "This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick".
Lopez said the flu virus can live inside a person for a week without displaying any symptoms.
The Livingston County Health Department is working to increase access to flu vaccinations in light of calls from Governor Andrew Cuomo for local health departments to step up efforts to combat the rapid spread of the disease over the past few weeks. H3N2, the season's viral strain, is wreaking havoc across the USA and other countries like Australia and the U.K. Hospitalizations from flu are at their highest since the CDC started measuring them in 2010.
The CDC also said some western states are seeing a second wave caused by Influenza B. People who have had the flu once can get sick again from a second strain.
Recognizing flu warning signs is critical too. The deaths were associated with H3N2, H1N1 and influenza B strains - "all of the different types of influenza are causing these deaths", Jernigan noted.
In Rhode Island, 24 people have died of flu-related illness so far this flu season.
The flu remains widespread in SC, but for the second straight week the number of confirmed cases fell statewide. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year.
"We've been very fortunate in Methuen Public Schools, there really has been no spike in absenteeism", she said.
Maine's more populated counties have been hit hardest with the flu.
The CDC says 1 in 13 doctor visits last week was for flu symptoms.
Flu stimulates an immune response in everyone's body, but for some people, this natural response can be "overwhelming", Schaffner said. Aggressive secondary bacterial infections in the lungs are responsible for many flu-related deaths. "The vaccine won't prevent 100%, but it's more comforting knowing they have some kind of protection". Medical experts say if you get sick, the best thing you can do is stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
The supply of the antiviral drugs used to treat patients with the flu exceeds the demand, although prescriptions are higher than in previous years, said Schuchat.