As flu activity increases in Los Angeles County this week - killing almost three times as many people as at the same point previous year - public health officials have a message: It's not too late to get vaccinated.
It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but there are troubling signs in some places.
The county Department of Public Health on Wednesday said 36 deaths have been attributed to flu compared to 13 flu deaths at the same time past year. The three other reported deaths were in children.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says flu activity in the US increased sharply during the first week of January, and is now categorized as widespread in 46 states. About 100 children have died in each of the past several flu seasons.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported the state's first pediatric flu death of the season.
The overall impact can vary greatly year to year, but flu always takes a substantial toll. Still, experts say getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. It's true that the vaccine was only 10 per cent effective in preventing influenza A.
Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Anyone who is particularly at risk - including the elderly and those with heart and/or lung conditions - should seek immediate medical attention if they show flu-like symptoms. Otherwise healthy adults also can also benefit if the medications are started quickly enough, CDC says.
Statewide, flu is widespread and at levels nearing peak season, the California Department of Public Health said Tuesday.