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CommonHealth: Flu Hits Mass. Early, With Force09:35
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In the United States, the flu season can range from November through March, and even past March in some years. Here, a CDC employee receives a flu vaccine from CDC Staff Nurse. (James Gathany/CDC)
In the United States, the flu season can range from November through March, and even past March in some years. Here, a CDC employee receives a flu vaccine from CDC Staff Nurse. (James Gathany/CDC)
CLICK TO ENLARGE: Flu cases have spiked earlier than previous years. During the last week of 2012, 5.6% of patient visits were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This is above the national baseline of 2.2%. (Courtesy of the CDC)
CLICK TO ENLARGE: Flu cases have spiked earlier than previous years. During the last week of 2012, 5.6% of patient visits were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This is above the national baseline of 2.2%. (Courtesy of the CDC)

The current flu season (which runs November to March) is hitting Massachusetts early — and with a force.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mass. Department of Public Health show that not only have cases of flu-like illness spiked earlier than seasons past, but they're also more widespread.

This flu season is atypical in a number of ways, and we speak with an infectious disease physician about what makes this year's flu so bad and what you can do to try to protect yourself.

Guest:

More:

This segment aired on January 8, 2013.

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