Our interactive map tracks the geographic spread of influenza.
Find out what you can do to fight the flu.
Our flu tracker lists the spread of the flu in four categories:
When Should You Get Your Flu Shot?
Here's what the CDC says, "October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but you can still get vaccinated in December and later. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May." And if the vaccine is available earlier in August or September, there is no down side to getting the flu vaccine that early.
Who Needs the Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control now recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age get flu vaccine.
Some people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. It is especially important for the to get vaccinated every year. This includes:
It's also smart to do whatever you can to avoid getting sick. Follow these steps:
Influenza typically kills more than 36,000 Americans each year, including some children and many senior citizens. It can affect people of all ages. Most people who get influenza will have a mild illness. They might miss a day or two of school or work, but most will recover with no problem.
Although most cases of influenza can be treated safely at home, CDC officials said it's important to know when to seek a doctor's care.
The CDC says children or adults with flu should see a doctor if:
The Bird Flu
U.S. officials have expressed concern about outbreaks of flu that have killed many thousands of birds in an increasing number of countries, mostly in Asia. This type of flu has infected more than 120 people who were in close contact with infected birds. The death rate for infected people has been about 50%.
Bird (avian) flu has not been reported in the United States, and it does not spread easily from person to person. However, health officials worldwide worry that at some point the virus could change genetically in ways that would allow it to spread rapidly among people. Officials do not expect such a change any time soon, but they are developing plans in order to be prepared.