This year's flu season got off to an early start, and it's been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu bugs.
Most people diagnosed with the flu will recover without any lasting problems, instead, they just won't feel their best.
Local, county, and state health departments do a lot of flu monitoring, and patients aren't treated by the federal government, noted Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
The IV bag shortage, which officials hope will improve in the coming weeks, has been driven by the devastation that the hurricane caused in Puerto Rico, where much of the United States' supply of IV bags is manufactured. Once flu symptoms appear, people are contagious for five to seven days.
It's not clear if we've hit the peak of flu season.
"The CDC has said that the flu season is peaking earlier than normal", said Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief of infectious disease at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. In view of National Center for Health Statistics information, 8.2% of all passings that happened amid the week finishing January 13 were because of pneumonia and flu.
Leung and other experts say vaccines are especially important for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
For the 2017-18 season, there have been 25 elderly deaths, 12 from age 50 to 64, three from age 25 to 49 and two from age 5 to 17. All eight states are reporting widespread flu activity.
"If they have any of the symptoms of this flu, to keep them home.do not send them to daycare, don't take them to the store, just keep them home", said Thompson.
More children across the country dying of the flu. "Nevertheless it's still helpful".
'Oftentimes in their earliest stages it can be hard to differentiate between these conditions, ' said Dr Brian Secemsky, an internist at One Medical in San Francisco.
"And it's really not like that", he said. "They've never felt this sick before, they're not sure they're not going to die".
Get a flu shot.
One specialist who has worked in crisis solution throughout the previous 20 years says this is the most noticeably bad influenza season he's seen.
The vaccine has been less effective so far this season, which was expected after a very weak year for the vaccine in the Southern Hemisphere.
"H3N2 is a strain that's most capable of outsmarting us", she said. And research has shown that, among hospitalized patients, the virus isn't as bad if the person has gotten the shot. All but one state, Hawaii, have reported widespread flu activity.
"We haven't experienced a significant drop, so we'll have to probably take it on a week-by-week basis", said the hospital's chair of ER medicine Dr. Tammi Thomas. Nearly three weeks later, they have yet to take it down.