While flu infections typically peak in January and February, the CDC is noting an early increase in the number of people falling sick with the virus, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. An increasing number of infections have occurred all through southern states including Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
A spokesman for the CDC said that last year’s flu season was late and mild. But while this year’s season is the earliest in a decade, it is difficult to predict how severe it will be.
Most patients are infected by the flu through touching something that another person with the virus has handled. To prevent an initial infection, the CDC advises hand-washing and covering the mouth while sneezing. The old, sick and very young are all advised to take extra caution to avoid infection this year. The best defense against the virus is an annual flu shot.