, Va. (WRIC) — Flu season is off to an earlier start than usual this year across the Commonwealth.
Virginia is considered one of just seven states across the country with widespread flu activity and it is still very early in this season.
The most recent data out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health shows that flu activity is twice as prevalent now as it was at this time last year.
The latest data is from the week ending in December 2nd, though new data is expected out soon.
Flu season goes from October until May each year. Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities in Central Virginia say about two percent of visits right now are for flu-like illnesses.
Across the Commonwealth, the highest number of flu-related hospital visits reported are in very young children — from newborn to four-years-old.
The National Institutes of Health recently said this year’s flu shot might only be ten percent effective against one strain of the flu, but still doctors are advising vaccination.
Though the CDC recommends vaccination by the end of October, the agency says getting a flu shot can still be beneficial if it’s received as late as January.
Click here for more information from the CDC.