(NBC News) Federal health officials are urging Americans to roll up their sleeves and get their flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates there were 37 to 42 million cases of the flu last year, resulting in as many as 647,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,000 deaths.
Already this year, days before the official start of the flu season, a California child has died of the flu.
"We recommend that everyone six months of age and older get it and now and until the end of October is the best time to get it," says Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC's Influenza Division.
It's especially important for vulnerable populations: Children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Still, an early survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases indicates only about half of adults plan to get vaccinated.
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