Peak flu season is upon us

Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and prevention wants to remind everyone that the peak time for the flu season here in the U-S is this month and if you haven't gotten a flu shot, it's not too late to protect yourself.

According to Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, now is a great time to take preventative action. "The season's not over, and we can still do better."

A total of 36 percent of Americans older than six months had been vaccinated for influenza by early November, according to CDC officials. This year's rate is a little better than last year's, which in early November stood at 32 percent. For children it's even better, 36 percent compared with last year's 30 percent.

Every year between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population gets influenza, and on average, 200,000 people a year are hospitalized during flu season. Death totals vary tremendously, ranging from 3,000 to 49,000 annually.

For the past two years, the CDC has recommended that everyone six months or older be vaccinated against influenza. It's especially important for young children, pregnant women, older people and those with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart or lung disease since all those groups are at risk for complications.