(RxWiki News) We may not have been thinking about it as much over the past couple of years, but the flu is still here. And it's currently on the rise in the United States.
That's according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC said that flu activity was increasing in most parts of the US.
Clinical lab testing found that the highest levels of confirmed flu activity were in the central and south central regions of the US. COVID-19 has dominated the headlines, of course, but the CDC estimated that there had been 1,800 deaths, 31,000 hospitalizations and 3.1 million illnesses linked to the flu so far this flu season.
Each week for the seven weeks leading up to publication time, the number of hospitalizations reportedly related to influenza increased, the CDC noted.
According to health officials, the majority of confirmed flu cases so far this season have been attributed to the H3N2 flu virus. That may be good news for public health because H3N2 is "genetically closely related" to the virus used to create this year's flu vaccines.
When a circulating flu virus is similar to the one used to create the vaccine, which varies each year, the vaccine may be more effective.
With that in mind, CDC officials said that the yearly flu shot is still the most effective way to prevent the flu.
"CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine as long as flu activity continues," the agency said on its website.
Flu vaccines are considered safe and effective, and they are widely available. To schedule your flu vaccine, reach out to your local community pharmacist or health care provider.