EVANSVILLE, Ind (ABC News) – There are signs the flu season may be starting to pick up.
The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that 60% of the country has flu activity, which is unusually high for this time of the year.
Flu activity most commonly peaks between December and February. And while the contagious respiratory illness is extremely unpredictable, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one season to another.
But this year even before peak season, 30 states are reporting a higher number of flu cases than at the same point last year or even for the last ten years.
California, Louisiana and Maryland already are seeing widespread flu activity.
There’s regional flu activity in seven other states in what’s known as local activity in 20 more states plus Puerto Rico.
Now last year at this time the number of states reporting cases of the flu was minimal.
But once the 2018 season started, it was the longest in a decade. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness. Last year 61 thousand people died from flu.
While this year’s flu season may be starting early the CDC can’t predict really whether it will be any more intense than in previous years, but, of course, they are warning anyone six months or older to get a flu shot.
The CDC reminds people to act soon because it takes ten days to two weeks for that shot to start working.
In addition to the vaccine-doctors say simple every-day actions like washing your hands with soap and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing are good ways to protect yourself from the flu.
Drinking plenty of fluids and getting a good night’s sleep is also key to staying healthy.
This story was originally published on November 20, 2019)