Flu season hitting harder and earlier this year - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Flu season hitting harder and earlier this year

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The flu season is hitting harder and earlier than in years past. Health experts say we're seeing serious cases of the influenza virus coast to coast.                          

The typical flu season usually starts between February and March, but this year it's hitting now. Health experts say they haven't seen flu cases this bad in 10 years and are speculating it could be from drier air.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 states across the country have high levels of influenza-like illness. Nevada isn't one of those states yet but the Southern Nevada Health District said it could have high rates soon.

"We project that we will see more influenza cases in the coming months," said Richard Cichy from the Southern Nevada Health District.

"Family members who have been sick recently have been miserable," said Beckie Brooks who lives in Las Vegas. 

Brooks isn't taking any chances. She brought her 5-year-old to get the flu mist. Health experts say the mist or the shot is the single best tool for prevention.

"Being the mom and having to take care of a sick child," said Brooks. "All moms know it's not fun for anybody."

Dr. Daliah Wachs said people still have time to get protected.

"The flu shot covers three strains of the flu including the Swine flu," said Wachs. "The flu shot is a killed vaccine so you should not get the flu if you get the shot."

People with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away. The virus is spread when infected people cough, sneeze or talk, then others inhale it. It's possible to be infected a full day before showing any symptoms, so people often pass it on before knowing they're even sick.

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated. The flu shot and the nasal spray is approved for people 2 to 49 years of age.

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