CDC map shows where flu cases have spiked in the US

As U.S. health officials continue to push for people to get their COVID-19 boosters, they also want to make sure you don't forget about flu season. 

More than half of U.S. states have high or very high levels of flu, unusually high for this early in the season, the government reported last week. Those 27 states are mostly in the South and Southwest but include a growing number in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

As Americans gear up for holiday travel, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a seasonal flu tracker to help people be aware of the spread of the illness. 

CDC-flu-map (1)

CDC flu map

See the full interactive map here

This year's uptick in flu cases is happening when children’s hospitals already are dealing with a surge of illnesses from RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, a common cause of coldlike symptoms that can be serious for infants and the elderly. And COVID-19 is still contributing to more than 3,000 hospital admissions each day, according to the CDC. 

But busy flu season is not unexpected. The nation saw two mild seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts have worried that flu might come back strong as a COVID-weary public has moved away from masks and other measures that tamp the spread of respiratory viruses.

So far this season, there have been an estimated 1.6 million flu illnesses and 13,000 hospitalizations. Flu activity is most intense in some areas where RSV is fading, including the Southeast, according to CDC data.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.