Flu season hitting earlier, with dozens more outbreaks — and more severe symptoms

If you feel like everyone around you is sick, you may have good reason.

Flu season seems to be peaking early in Illinois, with more than 100 more influenza outbreaks across the state this season compared with last season at this time. And the most common strain of flu this year is one associated with more severe symptoms, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“Last year we saw the peak in February,” said Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the health department. “It might just be starting earlier.”

The current levels also are higher than most flu seasons since 2009-10, state records show.