Health officials are warning the public because the flu is spreading more in New York State than in most of the United States.

Flu season normally really starts up in December and peaks in February. However, the CDC is seeing a surprising increase in cases earlier than normal.

Flu Season Starting Earlier Than Normal

Father wiping daughter's nose with handkerchief

"We've noted that flu activity is starting to increase across much of the country," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told NBC News.

The CDC reports the flu and similar viral illnesses are alarmingly high in a few states, including New York. Walensky thinks there's a good reason for the high number of cases early into flu season.

"Not everybody got flu vaccinated last year, and many people did not get the flu. So that makes us ripe to have potentially a severe flu season," Walensky adds.

Flu Season is Already Widespread Across New York

Sick man having flu and headache
Getty Images/iStockphoto

New York has seen an increase in flu cases of nearly 300 percent, compared to last year.

Since September, in New York cases of the flu have been increasing, with 596 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the week ending October 1, officials say. Last year on Oct. 9, 2021, there were 150 flu cases.

"I urge all New Yorkers to protect themselves and their family and friends by getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "With the early and aggressive spread of influenza, the annual flu shot is the most effective protection against serious illness. The COVID-19 booster can also be administered at the same time as the flu shot to further protect your health and those around you."

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New York City, Capital Region, Central New York, Upstate New York Seeing Most Flu Cases

Upset young couple having problem with central heating or suffering from cold or flu

New York City the Capital Region, Update New York and Central New York are reporting the most flu cases in New York State. Counties in "upstate" New York account for 57 percent of all current cases, according to the New York State Department of Healthy.

New York is the only state on the East coast with high cases of the flu, according to the CDC. Other spots with high cases of the flu are Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, DC.

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