The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned the public earlier this month to be prepared for a bad year of the flu. The CDC found that this year’s flu season got underway in late November, the earliest start since 2003. The CDC also warns that the strain being seen this year tends to be more severe than in the past.
Normally, a spike in flu like symptoms is not expected until late December, but the CDC reported that the season kicked off the week of November 24th. During that week, about 2.2% of doctor visits were for flu-like symptoms.
The flu is expected to be especially bad in the south, where five states are seeing outbreaks. These states include Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Meanwhile, Georgia and Missouri are reporting moderate levels of this year’s strain.
The best tool against infection is still vaccination. The vaccine that is available this year is well equipped to handle the flu, according to the CDC, and officials there believe the vaccine will be effective. So far, 123 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed, and 112 million of those have been administered.
This year, unlike past years, there is not expected to be any shortage of vaccines, so everyone should be able to get a vaccine if they want one. The CDC especially recommends vaccinating vulnerable groups including children, pregnant women, and healthcare workers.