CDC: Flu hits children especially hard for 2019-2020 season

Nearly 10 million people have been infected with the flu nationwide this season, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate. A new update warns children may be the most vulnerable to the illness.

The main virus this year is influenza-B, which tends to affect children more than other age groups, the CDC said. The B virus hasn't predominated in the United States in nearly 30 years.

Influenza-related illnesses have killed 32 children nationwide through Jan. 4, 2020, the CDC said. That is double the number who died by the same time last year.

The B strain's effects are less severe on the elderly, which is why the CDC is predicting that this flu season will be less deadly overall.

>New York boy, 11, dies from flu: 'We don't want Luca to become just a statistic'

"There's a lot of children ill and fewer elderly ill," the CDC's Lynnette Brammer said, "which is why we're seeing lots of high levels of illness and not such high levels of hospitalization and mortality."

Doctors are still trying to determine why this strain is harder on children. But for now, health experts are urging people to take steps to protect themselves and others. The best thing you can do is to get vaccinated.

"The more people that vaccinate, the more effective it is to stop the virus, to stop the spread of the virus," said Dr. Jenny Lu of Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago.

If you do experience flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, sore throat or fatigue, you should immediately seek medical attention, according to the CDC.

"Talk to your doctor about antiviral drugs that can make the duration of your illness shorter," Brammer said.

It is not too late to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends the flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months.


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. It is FREE! Download for iOS or Android