The CDC says the U.S. is experiencing one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald says it could be on par with the 2014-2015 flu season.
"We are currently in the midst of a very active flu season with much of the nation experiencing widespread and intense activity," Fitzgerald said.
The "very active" flu season started early, which is never a good sign, officials said. According to the CDC's latest data, influenza is peaking across the entire country. At least 20 children have died because of this year's strain with many more needing hospital stays.
Some states are pleading with residents to get the flu shot to help alleviate crowded emergency rooms. Health officials say influenza is a major killer, sending anywhere between 140,000 and 710,000 to the hospital each year. Around 12,000 to 56,000 die from it, depending on the severity of the virus. Even healthy adults can die from the flu.
The most vulnerable are the very young, the very old, people with compromised immune systems, and those with asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. According to the CDC, several strains of the flu are currently floating around the country, H3N2, H1N1 and two strains of influenza B are what's making people sick.
The CDC says the most common strain right now is H3N2, which the current vaccine on the market protects against. Health officials say the current vaccines on the market provide around 30 percent protection from the H3N2 flu.