Each flu season is unique; the timing of the peak activity and how severe a season will be are hard to predict, making it very important to protect yourself against flu as early as possible.
The best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine.
"Among the general population, about 39% have received the vaccine", said Stokley, co-author of a new CDC report that canvased people by phone and internet in early November. It is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets containing the flu virus are inhaled into your mouth or nose.
"The difference is the cold is going to last about two weeks and you may not have the achiness that you have a long with the flu", Hubenka said.
Dukes says getting a shot is still the most effective way to prevent the flu or mitigate the symptoms should you come down with the illness.
The groups medical professionals say are at risk for the flu, older people and pregnant women. If you're sick just stay home and get treated before you go back out.
Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases.
Doctors recommend the flu shot over the mist to increase effectiveness. "Getting an annual flu vaccination protects seniors, and everyone around them, too, including their grandchildren".
Data from the CDC's interactive flu-tracking site show cases of people falling ill with "influenza-like illnesses" (ILI) are more widespread than in previous years.
Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said lab testing in Ontario is turning up "quite a lot of B isolates, almost as many Bs as H3N2".
In addition to DHEC clinics, many local providers - including doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces - now offer flu vaccines.
"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said. And in Australia, which used the identical vaccine as Canada's this past season, its effectiveness against H3N2 infection was far less - only about 10 per cent.
It is impossible to contract a case of flu from the vaccine.