CDC: Up to 84000 Americans hospitalized with flu in past three months

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According to NBC News, an estimated 6 to 7 million people have had the flu so far this season.

In Arizona, there have been 4,510 confirmed cases of influenza this season compared to 16,144 previous year at this time, and the flu is widespread throughout the state.

These estimates are cumulative and will be updated over the course of the annual flu season on Fridays. Even if someone gets sick with flu, antiviral drugs may be an option, she said, especially for people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

The predominant strain this year is influenza A H1N1, which officials said tends to have less severe symptoms than the predominant strain that circulated last season.

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By comparison, there were 195 pediatric hospitalizations over the same period last season. None of those deaths have been children. Agency officials are providing the estimates for the first time during flu season as a way to underscore the risks of serious complications of the respiratory virus and to encourage people to get vaccinated. Calculations are based on adjusted rates of laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations collected through a surveillance network that covers approximately 8.5% of the USA population, or about 27 million people. In the past, the CDC has waited until the end of the season to release estimates of how many people have been affected by flu.

"Most people who get sick with flu will have mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks without medical care". Fewer than half of Americans ever do.

Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu. There are several influenza medications on the market now.

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