Flu season begins in October, and typically peaks between December and February. Coordinator of Infection Prevention and Employee Health at Beatrice Community Hospital, Rose Wischmeier, says the hospital saw a spike in activity during the first couple of weeks, in December within its' clinics and emergency department.
Area hospitals say they're at or near capacity due to an influx of patients with the flu or flu-like illnesses, but that people who need care will still be seen.
The most recent update to the Walgreen's Flu Index finds Kentucky ranking at No. 14 for states with the heaviest cases of diagnosed influenza.
Harding said the main reason for the rough flu season stems from the Centers for Disease Control missing the mark on the vaccine to combat the current strain.
It's relevant to note that these are just the reported numbers - they could be much higher, as not everyone seeks medical attention when they have the flu.
While the flu shot isn't always effective, doctors say if you catch the flu and have had the shot the symptoms may be less severe. "But time is short and we hope you get vaccinated soon, if you haven't".
But Harding said people should still get a flu shot because even it the vaccine is off some, it can still make the symptoms less severe compared to not having the shot at all.
At the end of its flu season in mid-August, Australia had more than 93,000 laboratory-confirmed cases - nearly 2.5 times the number of infections and double the number of hospitalizations and deaths compared to the previous year. This is especially true for those most likely to suffer complications of the flu such as the elderly, chronically ill, and young children. The vaccine's effectiveness against those strains has been found to be closer to 50 to 60 percent, he said.
It's not too late to get your flu shot.
Adult flu deaths are not reported to local health departments by Texas law.
Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
In addition to vaccination, public information officer Alexandra Reed said consistent hand washing and staying home if you are sick are the keys to preventing the virus' spread. "They work best when started within two days of getting sick". A study also done on flu vaccination said that it can significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza.