Influenza activity up nationwide

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported increases in influenza activity across the United States.

The CDC's latest FluView report said that most of the country is experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness. The agency continues to recommend influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment when appropriate.

"Reports of influenza-like-illness are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons," Dr. Joe Bresee said. Bresee is the head of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the CDC's influenza division. "While we can't say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations."

Bresee also said that anyone who is not already vaccinated should immediately do so. Those at high risk for influenza-complications should be treated with antiviral medication as soon as flu-like symptoms appear, regardless of their vaccination status.

The CDC said the timing of influenza seasons is impossible to predict, but it is likely that high flu activity will continue for an extended period of time. For the past decade, reports of influenza-like illnesses remained above baseline for an average of 12 weeks. The agency releases an updated report on flu activity every week.