ATLANTA (January 7, 2013)--Earlier reports indicated that this could be a bad flu season, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the data now confirm it.
In the last week of December flu was widespread in 41 states including Texas, flu-related child and infant deaths climbed to 18, and outpatient visits for flu symptoms jumped to 5.6 percent.
The CDC's Tom Skinner says "people who come down with the flu can be pretty sick," with severe muscle aches and high-grade fever lasting four or five days.
Skinner says for "certain groups of people, mainly children, the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, the flu can be life-threatening."
He says the vaccine is well matched to this year's flu strains, but isn't 100 percent effective.
He said it does reduce the severity of the illness for those who do get it, though, so it's still worth the shot.