According to FluView, the CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance report, flu activity is increasing nationwide and is already high in ten states predominately in the south- specifically Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. For the first time since the 2009 influenza pandemic, H1N1 is the dominant circulating flu strain early in the season. While most flu strains predominantly sicken the elderly and those with existing health problems, the H1N1 strain sickens mostly younger adults, those ages 18 to 49, and middle-aged individuals, ages 49 to 64.
CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months get a flu shot every year. Federal officials reported earlier this month that flu vaccinations kept nearly 80,000 people out of the hospital last year and prevented 6.6 million cases of the flu. The H1N1 virus is included in this year’s flu vaccine, which should limit the effects if the strain continues to be dominant this season.