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The flu season is starting a little early this year

The south and southeast have been hit particularly hard and early with the flu.

This is the earliest the flu has hit since the 2003-2004 flu season at about 2.2 percent. The season does not usually peak until about January or later, according to NBC News.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said, “It looks like it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season.”

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas have had the highest levels of the flu so far. Last year’s flu season did not peak until February.

Associated Press reports that the strain of flu going around is making people more sick than the other types of flu and can be very hard on the elderly.

About 1/3 of the nation has been vaccinated and the vaccine this year has been matched well with the strains that are going around.

Dr. Melinda Wharton, CDC’s Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director said, “We are particularly encouraging people who haven’t gotten vaccinated to do it.”

Anyone ages 6 months or older can receive the flu vaccine and it is recommended. About 24,000 Americans dies each year from the flu.

Right now influenza A, H3N2, H1N1, and influenza B are the main culprits that are causing the early start in the season.