Flu season in the US: Estimated 6-7 million cases to date

Only Winnipeg region has had more flu cases than Northern Manitoba this season

So, is the U.S.in for a milder flu season?

Each year seasonal flu places a significant burden on the health of people in the United States. Designing the correct immunization against flu means guessing which strain or strains will be the big ones, and then making an effective deterrent.

An estimated 6 million to 7 million people have had the flu so far this season.

How can you accurately track flu activity when it's so contagious and spreads very easy while people travel and move about?

The CDC has no estimate of deaths so far this season, partly because it's so early. The CDC monitors patients who get to the hospital in cases of flu or flu-like illnesses, but the information can have a delay of nearly two weeks.

"Here's another proactive step you can take to protect your baby", Gupta said of a flu shot.

While states such as California and North Carolina have seen significant numbers of flu-related deaths this season, USA health officials said Friday that the nationwide impact of influenza seems to be milder than last winter.

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Chances are you probably know someone who is sick, but doctors and pharmacists say vaccines can be given even to those who already feel sick or are coughing.

This is the first time the agency has provided an in-season estimate of national flu cases.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu based on symptoms alone.

Flu season kicks off in earnest in October each year, though patients can still be susceptible to certain strains in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumonia and influenza deaths this year have so far not reached epidemic, whereas last season's pneumonia and influenza deaths were at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks.

Other ways to avoid getting a cold or the flu include washing your hands often and avoid touching your face. This year - in Saskatchewan at least - he said children with flu symptoms should see a health professional right away.

The burden of the flu is falling heavily on young children this year - an age group that traditionally shows low vaccination rates, Canadian doctors say. If you haven't gotten a flu shot, it's not too late.

Montana's Stacey Anderson says, "We all remember last year, it was quite an exceptional influenza year".

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