As hospitals and emergency rooms fill upDoctors are warning people to get vaccinated for this and , especially before the holiday season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is already reporting high levels of activity in 22 states and Washington, DC.
The CDC also said the hospitalization rate for the flu is the highest in a decade at the start of the season.
Dr. Daniel Guzman of Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth said,– A respiratory illness common in children – and cases of flu have filled their emergency room. He said the rate of cases in the hospital nearly doubled from 172 last week to about 338 flu patients.
That’s why doctors are urging people to get vaccinated. Massachusetts teacher Andrew Talbot said he received his COVID-19 booster before traveling to see his immunocompromised mother for the holidays.
“I’m aware of the fact that, you know, there’s COVID that comes and goes in waves,” he told CBS News. “And especially with her being on immunosuppression drugs, I didn’t want to risk bringing anything home.”
But, according to the CDC, only 10% of people age 5 and older have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine and just 21% of adults say they have been vaccinated against the flu.
“You’re protecting your whole bubble of members of your family,” Guzman said of vaccination. “You know, those who are really old for those who are really young. And so it’s really important that we do as much as we can to help save them.”
To stay safe this holiday season, experts recommend getting vaccinated, consider a “mini-quarantine” a week before travel, get tested before you gather, and stay home if you feel sick.
“It’s never too late to get a flu shot,” Guzman said. “I think we have to stress that it’s an important thing to help protect ourselves, as well as everyone around us, that everyone go out and get a flu shot.”