Flu Hitting Nebraska Earlier Than Usual

By: Bill Schammert

It's the first time in a decade the flu season has struck this early, and though the strongest numbers are to the south, local health officials know more cases are heading our way.

They're the symptoms nobody wants to deal with; cough, soar throat, runny nose, patchiness, fever, fatigue.  But, the flu is already here.

Official numbers aren't in for Lancaster county, but already, there are 27 confirmed cases in Douglas county – more than five times the normal rate for this time of the year.

“Certainly, during the holidays, as people travel around the country, the chance of getting exposed increases,” Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department's, Tim Timmons, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu season doesn't usually peak until February, but the LLCH is acknowledging several cases have already been spotted in Nebraska, including right here in Lincoln.

And if you haven't received your vaccine yet, with the holiday season right around the corner, there's no better time than now.

“It takes about two weeks after you get the shot to become fully vaccinated,” Timmons said.

The CDC says about 112 million Americans have already been vaccinated.  And this year's most prominent strain, H3N2, is covered by the vaccine.

For more information, visit the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Influenza page: