At a press conference Friday in Atlanta, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden
said the season has been particularly bad for people 65 and older.
Adult deaths are not tracked, but the CDC said that the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are vulnerable to this strain of the flu.
But pediatrician Lisa Thebner cautions that "not everyone needs antivirals." She said, "They are mostly recommended for those who are most at risk for complications," meaning the very young or old.
Frieden said some doctors don't think the medications work, but if given early, they help ease some of the symptoms of the flu.
The CDC had predicted the season would be a bad one after most of the samples taken from people with the flu tested positive for the H3N2 strain
. That strain of virus is "nastier," according to Frieden, and generally makes people sicker and results in more hospitalizations and deaths.
The CDC reports that most states are seeing widespread cases of flu. In states where the flu season started earlier, it may be slowing down, but there are still weeks of flu left. The flu season usually lasts into the spring.
With that in mind, Frieden suggests to go get a flu shot if you haven't been vaccinated.
The flu shot this year is not a perfect match
for the virus that mutated, but it is the best protection available for people and can lessen the severity of the illness.