TULSA - The Center for Disease Control is warning Americans that the flu season is here, and it's off to a strong start.
Weeks ahead of the normal timeline, thousands of people have already been hospitalized nationwide, including 171 in Oklahoma. Two people have died in Tulsa County and, according to the CDC, it's going to get worse.
Health experts at the CDC say this is the earliest start to a flu season in about a decade and advise people to get a flu shot. Forty-one states are reporting widespread flu cases.
The CDC says more than 2,200 people have been hospitalized because of the flu and 18 children have died.
Officials say getting a flu shot does not guarantee you will not get the flu but it offers about 60 percent effectiveness against this strain of flu.
Doctors say that it takes about two weeks for a flu shot to take full effect, so it is important to get vaccinated early in the season.