"The flu shot protects you and those around you by making it less likely you'll get sick if you're exposed to the virus, and if you do get ill, you'll tend to have fewer days of symptoms and they'll be less severe", Angell said.
"It really depends on what viruses are circulating".
The most recent data for the Portland metro area shows 16.8 percent of people with flu-like symptoms tested positive for flu, a number that has steadily gone up in recent weeks, with 16 influenza-related hospitalizations reported during that week in the metro area.
The state's Department of Public Health reported that 5.31 percent of Georgia outpatient visits were reported as influenza-like illnesses during the week ending November 30.
Public Health officials said it's very important for people who have not yet received a flu shot to do it now.
But it's too early to tell if this season will be as bad, according to Scott Epperson, who tracks influenza-like illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Flu is geographically widespread in 16 states, including MA, though at different levels of intensity, and B viruses, generally seen later in the season, are said to predominate across the country. During the 2017-18 flu season, 145 people in Georgia died as a result of the flu, including four children ages 5-17; 15 ages 18-51; 25 ages 51-64; and 101 people 65 and over.
Children's Hospital New Orleans has already seen more flu cases this fall than it saw all of last winter, said Dr. Toni Gross, the hospital's chief of emergency medicine.
The agency said 19 people were hospitalized for flu in metro Atlanta during the week ending November 23, bringing the season total to 88.
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.
The CDC's flu surveillance report for the week ending November 30 shows the percentage of visits to outpatient providers for influenza-like illnesses has been at or above the national baseline for four weeks. Flu is widespread in 16 states, though not necessarily at intense levels in each, the CDC said. This could make for a more effective vaccination and perhaps one day mean you won't have to roll up your sleeve before every single flu season. It ended with around 49,000 flu-related deaths and 590,000 hospitalizations, according to preliminary estimates.