Flu season is back and off to a deadly start

CDC is reporting 2.6 million cases and 1,300 deaths so far.
2:12 | 12/14/19

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Transcript for Flu season is back and off to a deadly start
It is back and it is off to a deadly start. The CDC reporting elevated levels of the illness with an estimated 2.6 million cases, 23,000 people sent to the hospital, 1,300 deaths so far. Dr. Jen is here to tell us what we need to know and how we can stay healthy. Good morning. Good morning, again, Dan. What's the latest here? The weekly flu report is out from the CDC. Take a look at the map. What you can see now is widespread flu activity in 23 states. I want to be clear. When you see a map like this, brown, yellow, Orange, and you hear the word "Widespread," that refers to geography. If you see the pretty map with a lot of red, it's very dramatic, red, yellow, green, that refers to flu-like activity and the severity of how bad people are going to see their doctors so very different terminology. Very important distinction. Got you. One of the things people always wonder is how effective is this year's flu vaccine? Look, the flu vaccine is at best only moderately effective. We don't know yet. We'll only know about this year when it's in our rearview mirror. What we do know is that year to year the vaccine hovers around 40% effective. Now, there is data that suggests that if you were to get the flu after having been vaccinated earlier in the season, you are less likely to suffer serious complications or death from the but, again, we have to underscore the flu season goes to April. It is not too late to get vaccinated. Take this seriously. This is not just a bad cold. What about travel season? I often feel like when I'm flying I'm rolling around in a petri dish. Are you that guy with the -- I'm certainly that. I am too. Listen, some commonsense precautions here. If you are traveling to a place, number one, get vaccinated. Again, it takes about two weeks to get the full immune protection from the flu. Research the destination's flu activity. You can go to the CDC's flu page to see how active the flu is where you're going. Wash your hands again and again and again. That is really important, and if you are sick, stay home until you are without a fever for 24 that's without anything like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. And even though I sound horrible, I am not. You don't sound bad. You were saying that backstage. I think you sound great. And as always incredibly useful information. Thanks, you guy. Really appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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