LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s already been a rough flu season, and we are just getting started. Doctors’ offices are packed and kids are staying home from school, but it’s happening a lot earlier than normal.
In fact, the last time we’ve had this many cases in December was back in 2003.
The Center for Disease Control says 1.7 million people have already gotten the flu this year, sending 16,000 people to the hospital. 900 people across the nation have died from the flu this year alone.
With so many flu viruses going around it’s hard to stay healthy.
Part of the problem is a rare strain called the Victoria virus, also known as influenza B, that’s responsible for a lot of cases this year. The stain normally doesn’t hit until March or April.
It’s been a big surprise for doctors, so they’re scrambling to keep everyone safe.
The good news is the virus isn’t usually dangerous for older people, who are more likely to pass away after getting the flu.
The virus is, however, really hard on kids and people younger than 50, so families are most at risk. Especially if you’re traveling for the holidays.
“Flu is spread by close contact with people around you,” registered nurse Lindsay Stroud said. “Travel, airports, or just being around lots of family, so it’s real important and it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.”
Flu season normally peaks in February, but since we’re seeing so many cases now, doctors say there’s a chance we could peak before the New Year.
The CDC recently updated their flu numbers for 2017 and found 61,000 people died from the flu, which is the highest number seen in more than ten years.
Despite an early start to flu season, the totals put things into perspective.