Flu Season is Starting Early and Strong
The Centers for Disease Control says the start of this flu season is the earliest recorded in almost a decade, especially in the southeast U.S.
Florida Epidemiologist Carina Blackmore says this year they have noticed two strains of flu, A & B. She says most of the widespread outbreaks are caused by strain A.
Blackmore says Florida is seeing more of Flu B.
"They are genetically and biologically different. Flu B viruses tend to be a little less virulent than Flu A viruses are,” Blackmore adds. “We have had mortality in Florida already this year. You may be aware of the unfortunate report of the 14-year-old passing away from flu last week."
According to the CDC, on average, 24,000 Americans die each flu season.
Good news is the country is fairly well protected. An estimated 112 million Americans are vaccinated. CDC officials also say this year's vaccine is well matched to the strain of flu seen in the early cases.
Blackmore says along with vaccinations, people should practice proper coughing etiquette and wash hands frequently to avoid spreading diseases.