This year’s flu season is off to an early start, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Federal officials reported widespread flu in five states: Alabama, California, Louisiana, Nevada and South Carolina. High levels were also recorded in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. In all, 30 states are experiencing early flu activity.
Despite the stepped up activity, it’s not too late to get a flu shot, officials claim. The flu vaccine “is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications,” according to the CDC. This year’s standard includes protection against several strains of influenza, including H1N1, H3N2, and B/Victoria viruses.
Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to death. Older people and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. Roughly 8% of the nation gets sick from flu each season, according to federal figures.