Goldman said he has seen a couple of cases of flu so far, and the flu season seems to be starting earlier than normal. Once it starts in one part of the country, it usually spreads quickly, he said.
Nationwide, two children have died of the illness this year. The last time the H3N2 strain struck, more than 48,000 people died in one of the most lethal seasons in the past 35 years, according to the CDC.
But Goldman said there is an advantage this year compared to the 2003-04 flu season. This year, the type of vaccine matches well with the strains of virus. That was not the case nine years ago.
The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over six months old, and says they are particularly important for pregnant women, anyone with a chronic illness, anyone over 65, children under 5 and people living with the elderly or others at high risk of developing complications.
More than 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to complications of the flu, according to the CDC.
Flu vaccines are readily available. Many employers provide them, and they are available at doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics and many pharmacies.
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