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Flu Season Off to Early, Strong Start

The CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week to remind people that it's not too late to get a flu shot.

The flu season is off to an earlier-than-usual start nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Activity is most intense in the south-central and southeast of the country right now," the a CDC report released Monday says. "Most of the viruses characterized so far this season have been H3N2 viruses; which are typically associated with more severe seasons."

The CDC established Dec. 2-8 as National Influenza Vaccination Week. The week is highlighted to remind people to get flu vaccinations before flu season. Last week, a Mayo Clinic report suggested people at risk for heart disease who get flu shots reduce their risk for heart attacks. 

This week, the Fairfax County Health Department will provide tips and information about flu vaccinations, fighting the flu and more on its Facebook page and Twitter. The health department will also have a live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the flu, vaccinations and winter health.

Deputy Director for Medical Services Dr. Raja’a Satouri will be available to answer questions. To join the conversation, submit your questions here.

Not Too Late, Even After Thanksgiving

The CDC established this week to remind people not to fall for the myth that it's too late to get vaccinated after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. A flu vaccination offers the best protection against the disease.

Once vaccinated, the CDC says it takes about two weeks for the body's immune response to fully kick in. Flu activity in the U.S. usually peaks in February and can last as lat as May, so the CDC recommends getting vaccinated now.

Here are some tips from the Fairfax County Health Department about fighting the flu:

For more information about what you should know about the 2012-2013 flu season, visit the CDC website.

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