The 2014-2015 flu season is off to a slow start, but experts expect it to be a "typical" flu season, with cases peaking in January or February of next year, Steven Reinberg reports for HealthDay.
According to CDC, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents are infected with some strain of influenza each season, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of complications stemming from the virus.
Hospital FAQ: Flu season is on the horizon. What can we do to prepare?
Joseph Bresee, chief of CDC's Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in the Influenza Division, says this year's season will be a "classic flu year." He says, "We are starting to see a little more flu in the country, but we are still at pretty low levels," adding, "There is a little more each week, but still no widespread flu."
During the 2013-2014 flu season, influenza-like-illness (ILI) in the United States began an upward trend in mid-November, before peaking at the end of December, a pattern also seen during the 2012-2013 season.
Despite the slow start, Bresee warns that it is important to get vaccinated if you have yet to do so. He says it is not yet known which strains will be most prevalent this year, but that the strains that have been detected so far appear to be a good match for the shot.
Why retailers are fighting to give you your flu shot
CDC says more than 135 million doses of the vaccine are available this year, and everybody ages six months and older are encouraged to get vaccinated (Reinberg, HealthDay, 11/21).
Hospital vaccine mandates
See our archive of Daily Briefing stories on flu shot mandates for hospital workers:
Next in the Daily Briefing
Hospital revenue is up—but so are operating costs