NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Flu season started early and doctors said the deadly outbreak could last for many more weeks to come.
The situation has gotten so bad that schools in at least eleven states have closed, and 1 in 15 doctors visits is now because of the flu.
The number of people going to see their doctor or heading to the emergency room for flu-like symptoms this season is the highest since the swine flu pandemic of 2009.
If you or your family have had the flu, you’re not alone and on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control said the season might not have reached its peak.
States like California are seeing a slight decrease in cases, but the numbers are still getting worse in the northeast.
So far, more than 86,000 people have confirmed cases of the flu, and the number of children who have died from the virus is now at 37. The elderly are getting hit the hardest, but the CDC said right now Baby Boomers, 50 to 64-years-old are seeing high levels of hospitalization.
“There’s a number of reasons, the vaccination level is not as high in that group, but also they may be more susceptible to another influenza virus circulating which is the h1n1 virus,” Dr. Dan Jernigan said.
While millions of people get the flu and the statistics can be scary, doctors say the vast majority of people won’t even need to go to the doctor.
“Five to seven days you’ll feel miserable, but then you’ll get better from it,” Dr. Paul Sasso said, “Just Tylenol, Motrin, fluids, rest, and try to prevent other people form getting it.”
There are some people who will get his hard, who should call the doctor, especially if they’re seeing certain symptoms.
“Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, ear pain, even getting a little disoriented,” Dr. Jernigan said.
Doctors said the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot, and it’s still not too late. Wash your hands for at least 30 to 45 seconds, cover your cough with your arm, not your hands, and stay home if you’re sick.
The flu season normally peaks in February, but can last into the beginning of summer.