Health experts say the flu season is off to its earliest start in almost a decade.
Suspected flu cases have spiked in five southern states and strain that is circulating appears to be especially difficult.
Heartland Health's Dr. Cynthia Brownfield says it has been particularly hard on the elderly.
"The importance of this current strain is that it's a little more severe," said Dr. Cynthia Brownfield. "The symptoms can be a little harsher on people, especially the elderly."
The CDC reports that a third of Americans have been vaccinated with the flu shot.