Doctors warn: Flu is hitting Michigan hard and early

(WXYZ) - Doctors are warning the flu is hitting hard and early.

The virus has proven deadly already for eight children across the United States, and one quarter of them are from Michigan.  One child from central and one from southwestern Michigan died after getting sick.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says it has as of mid-December confirmed about 150 cases.

Doctors tell 7 Action News that one strain they are seeing intensely attacks the respiratory system.  It is a strain that is especially dangerous for the very young and the very old.

If you haven't already gotten your flu shot, it is suggested that you get one.

The Centers for Disease Control says this is the earliest we have seen this rate of flu in recent history. 

The website www.sickweather.com has been tracking reports of the flu on social media sites such as twitter.  It says it is possible the virus started going around weeks before it was confirmed by health officials. It noticed a disturbing trend in October.

On top of getting a flu shot doctors say protect yourself by washing your hands frequently.  If you notice symptoms of the flu, such as body aches, fever, dizziness, or nausea, stay at home. If they don't go away after a few days see your doctor.

Many health departments are offering discounts on flu vaccines to encourage use.

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