(NBC News) – Flu season is showing no sign of slowing down, and parts of the country may be experiencing a second wave of illness.
The flu epidemic remains widespread in nearly all states, and experts say it could be a record-breaking season.
“The last severe season that we had, 56,000 Americans died from influenza. We may be on track to reach or even exceed that level,” warns Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC tracks pediatric flu deaths closely. So far 63 children have died this season.
It’s an understandably scary statistic. Pediatricians say they’re inundated with panicked moms and dads concerned their sick child might have the flu.
“Anybody who gets a fever, cough, cold, sneezing, anything, they’re all coming in. And that’s fine because you know, a lot of times, I just say to the parents, look, if you’re worried, just bring them in, let me listen to the hearts and lungs and make sure there’s no superinfection,” says Dr. Shilpa Patel.
About half of the children who’ve had to be hospitalized had been healthy previously.