But health officials say people are still coming down with flu-like symptoms.
The flu may be on the decline, but health officials remind us this is not the time to lower your guard. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says influenza is still very much with us, as many people are becoming sick with flu-like symptoms. However, it's seems to have peaked recently. "Two weeks ago, we had the peak of activity in Maryland," says Rene Najera, an epidemiologist for DHMH and the influenza surveillance coordinator. "So now we're in downward trend, but still seeing a lot of hospitalizations, still seeing a lot of cases."
The flu season usually begins in December and January, but this year, it started in October, 2012. Normally, it ends in May, but Najera says one year, it continued into the summer.
Najera says this year, there are two flu strains circulating. The predominant one is H3N2, but there's also Type B. He says the flu strain from 2009, H1N1, which caused a pandemic, is still out there. "You can still get any of these three," he says.
Health officials say this year's vaccine is a good match for this season's flu strains.
Even though the flu may be on the decline, Najera says it's not too late to get a flu shot. "It takes about two weeks to kick in to full immunity," Najera says. "So you want to get it while you can so two weeks from now you'll be protected."
A lot of communities across the country are reporting that they've run out of the flu vaccine. But Najera says check with your local health department to see if they have any left. The Frederick County Health Department number is 301-600-1029.
If they don't, he says go to www.flu.gov, a website run by the federal government. "They keep track of vaccine shipments and vaccine availability across the country. And you can type in your address on there, and it will tell if there's a nearby location that has vaccine available," says Najera.