An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications in a typical season, according to the CDC. From 1976 to 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
The best protection is for everyone 6 months of age and older to get the flu vaccine.
"It's not too late to get vaccinated," Skinner said. Ample vaccine was made available, but since it's late in the vaccination season it may be a little harder to find, he said.
Also encouraging is that the vaccine is a good match for the strains of flu circulating now, Skinner said.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, head and body aches, and runny nose. People at particular risk for flu and its complications are pregnant women, those 65 and older and anyone with a chronic illness. The CDC urges these people to get the flu vaccine, which is available as an injection or nasal spray and in a stronger dose for seniors.
To learn more about the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Tom Skinner, spokesman, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jan. 4, 2013, CDC FluView; CBS News, Jan. 3, 2013; Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jan. 3, 2013; Associated Press, Jan. 3, 2013
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