Flu season easing slightly, but not for children

Little boy having a cold, blowing his nose

The U.S. is in the midst of a harsh flu season for children.
At least 34 million Americans have been sickened with the flu so far this season and an estimated 20,000 people have died from it, with the illness taking a higher-than-expected toll on children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.
As of Feb. 29, there also were 136 flu-related deaths in children reported this season. That total is higher than every season since reporting began in 2004-2005 with the exception of the 2009 pandemic, the CDC said.
Overall, hospitalization rates in the population are similar at this point in time to prior recent seasons, with an estimated 350,000 hospitalizations so far.
But hospitalization rates among school children and young adults are higher than in recent seasons, and rates among kids ages 4 or younger are the highest on record at this point in the season — even higher than during the second wave of the 2009 flu pandemic.

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