Flu epidemic strikes US: CDC

With 13 weeks of flu season left, some hospitals face an IV fluid shortage as they treat the sick.
2:35 | 01/13/18

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Transcript for Flu epidemic strikes US: CDC
swings continue. Next the deadly flu declared an epidemic across America. The CDC out revealing that the rate of hospitalized children under 5 years old has doubled in just two weeks. Flu season likely reaching its peak right now with 49 states reporting widespread flu. Health officials reporting at least 7 pediatric deaths just this week. Here's Steve osunsami with what you need to know. Reporter: Already, this mother, this little boy, and even this personal trainer, have all died from this year's flu. The CDC tonight is calling it an epidemic, with 13 more weeks of the flu season to go. "This is just a problem bug. We hate it when this bug shows up. And we probably are going to see a lot of hospitalizations and deaths." Reporter: Here in Atlanta, where they showed us today their plentiful supply of flu shots for anyone who needs, hospitals are seeing a flood of patients. "Compared to last year, we've tested nearly twice as many patients as we have the year before and we're seeing about four times as much flu." Reporter: And there's another problem. Hospitals need bags of IV fluid to treat the flu and there's a shortage after hurricane MARIA shut down a factory in Puerto Rico. At mass general in Boston, they're having to give patients Gatorade instead. In northern Idaho, an entire school system had cancel classes. There were so many cases. This New York doctor explains to our tj Holmes that the virus can live for up to 24 hours on revolving doors and elevators. "Don't touch a door with you hands. You can push it with your elbows, you can push it with you back, anything that's not going to touch your face." Reporter: Across the country, hospitalizations of children under 5 have doubled this week. This particular strain of flu is hardest on children and seniors. David. Steve thank you. Dr. Jen Ashton is back with us and we have reported interesting things about the flu shot itself. We have known it takes two full weeks to kick in but now we have learned at some point it starts to kick in and lessens the symptom tons no matter what. You are telling us even if the flu shot isn't a perfect match for the strain, it still helps. Absolutely. Anyone listening tonight if you have not been vaccinated get that vaccine. There is some data that suggests that if you get the vaccine and you get the flu after that, you face lower risk of serious complications like pneumonia, hospitalization even death, particularly in children and your symptoms may be less severe. Some protection is better than no protection. If you get the shot and get the flu anyway, it still helps? Absolutely. Thanks so much. We're going to turn to the deadly mudslides in California.

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

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