The flu season in the U.S. is set to start far earlier than normal and to be a particularly bad one, according to the U.S. government.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the first cases of influenza have appeared around a decade earlier than normal and are running at a far higher level normally seen in several states. The earlier activity is based on influenza activity having reached the U.S. reached the national baseline at the earliest level seen since the 2003-2004 season
In addition, higher-than-normal reports of flu have come in from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Some the strains also appear more virulent, based on the number of hospital admissions.
The most common symptoms of ‘flu are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort. Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus.
The CDC has, however, indicated that ‘flu preparations this year have been more advanced, with a slightly higher take up with vaccinations. Last month the U.S. Food and Drug administration approved the main ‘flu shot to be used during this current season.
For those who have yet to be vaccinated, the CDC is part-way through its National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 2-8). The agency states that “an annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent this serious illness”.