ROANOKE, Va. – Flu season is in full swing, hitting children especially hard this year.
It’s widespread in nearly every state, including Virginia.
This year, a second strain of the virus, impacting children more severely, is widespread.
The CDC reports twice as many pediatric flu deaths nationwide this season compared to last.
"We are not locally seeing any admissions or barely any admissions in children, so it's not as severe in this local area," said Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, medical director for infection control and infectious diseases at Carilion.
The numbers have gone up. Carilion has already seen nearly 1,000 patients with the flu.
“We started rather early on in terms of seeing cases,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.
The number of cases spiked much earlier than last year.
Nationwide, numbers are up and severity is down. But there's much more sickness still to come.
"The flu season is predictably always unpredictable," Baffoe-Bonnie said.
Experts said it’s too soon to determine the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine, but it’s still your best protection against the flu.
To protect yourself, doctors said to be extra vigilant about washing your hands and if you do start feeling bad, go to the doctor and stay away from other people so you don’t spread it.