Dec 6, 2022 - News

A "bad flu season" in Washington and nationwide

Illustration of a pattern of tissue boxes.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

This year's flu season in Washington — and nationwide — is more severe than usual, leading public health officials to renew calls for people to get their annual flu shots.

Zoom in: Two children have died of the flu in recent weeks in King County, health officials announced Dec. 1.

  • That's a big increase from recent years, as the county saw no pediatric flu deaths in the past two seasons, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.
  • Statewide, 11 adults have died of the flu this season, the state health department said.
  • In its latest weekly report, the department described the level of influenza-like illness as "very high."

What they're saying: "This is already shaping up to be a bad flu season," Public Health – Seattle & King County wrote in a November blog post. "...The positivity rate for flu tests is much higher at this early point in the flu season than we've seen in many years, and the volume of cases is increasing rapidly."

The big picture: Hospitals are overrun with cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19. That's made public health officials especially worried about how a severe flu season will further strain health care resources.

Be smart: You can find a clinic administering flu shots on King County's website, or through

  • Health officials urge everyone ages 6 months and older to get the shot.
  • Experts also recommend masking in public indoor spaces to help prevent the spread of the flu, RSV and COVID-19.

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