Flu season arrives early with widespread outbreaks in 36 states

The flu season is here early this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says outbreaks are widespread in 36 states, including Illinois.

Twelve children have died nationwide from the flu this season, and more than 2,400 people have been hospitalized.

Vaccine effectiveness varies each year. Studies suggest the flu shot helps reduce the risk of illness by around 50 percent.

Experts encourage people to cover their faces when they cough and to practice frequent hand washing to prevent the infection from spreading.