Flu season in the U.S. is off to an early start—which means a virulent winter may be impending.
Influenza activity has been higher than normal for four weeks in a row, which many experts consider the official mark of flu season. As of the week ending Nov. 30, 3.5% of visits to health care providers nationwide were related to influenza-like illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Already, the country has seen about 1.7 million cases of the flu, 16,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 910 flu-related deaths, the CDC says. Six children have died so far.