CDC: Greater than six million individuals have had flu this season

Arwin Hosseini receives his first flu shot in Toronto

According to the CDC, flu seasons vary from year to year.

Health regulators have been trying to combat flu outbreaks in the United States and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first new flu medication in almost two decades previous year. It was the worst flu season in decades.

A 3-year-old girl died of the flu in suburban Chicago on December 22, marking the state's first pediatric flu death of the season.

In Arizona, there have been 4,510 confirmed cases of influenza this season compared to 16,144 past year at this time, and the flu is widespread throughout the state. This year, the season is unwrapping slower than those last year.

And in Saskatchewan, public health officials are pleading with parents to get their children vaccinated after influenza killed three unvaccinated preschoolers in the province.

Typically, the flu season lasts from October to as late as May. "If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities", the CDC said.

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"Calculations are based on adjusted rates of laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations collected through a surveillance network that covers approximately 8.5 percent of the US population, or about 27 million people", the CDC said.

Quick treatment can save lives, the CDC said.

If the current strain continues to be the predominant virus, it is what the head of the epidemiology and prevention branch of CDC's flu division expects. These new in-season estimates fill out the picture of the burden of flu in the United States.

"I think we could be doing a better job to really raise awareness to say kids between six months to five years old are a high-risk group".

Antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time someone is sick by a day or two, clinicians say.

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