April 19 (UPI) -- The current flu season has lasted for 21 weeks, making it the longest season recorded in the last decade.
Flu activity is starting to slow, the CDC reported on Friday, but the season has now become the longest in years as two strains spread across the country in the last five months.
After the first strain of flu has been spreading this season -- the season started around Thanksgiving -- a more potent strain of the virus then took over in February, leading to more illnesses and hospitalizations.
The previous longest flu season was the 2014 -2015 season.
This week, the flu has caused nearly 18,000 hospitalizations, with a rate of 62.3 per 100,000 people. Between 16.7 million and 19.4 million have made flu-related visits this flu season, according to the CDC.
Three pediatric flu-related deaths occurred last week, bringing the total to 91 deaths this season.
The CDC estimates that flu-related deaths may reach 55,000 this season. Last season, the CDC estimates that 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses.
The flu can be treated by drugs like oseltamivir and zanamivir, both of which are available at CVS.