Ok, it's officially flu (also known as influenza) season and this can be confirmed by the way you may be feeling at this very moment, or others you come in contact with daily. It is noted that this flu season is turning out to be the worst in a decade, with an increase in the amount of cases and those seen being hospitalized. To date, this flu season is responsible for 83 outbreaks (twice as many that are seen in a typical year) and 14 deaths in people under the age of 65.
The symptoms associated with the flu are sneezing, coughing, fever, chills, muscle aches, lethargy and a general loss of appetite. Symptoms may also include throwing up, diarrhea, throwing up and headaches.
"Public health officials can’t yet say for sure why this season is worse than usual, but it probably has to do with the strain that’s circulating widely, known as influenza A, subtype H3N2. That type is known to produce more serious symptoms, especially among the elderly.
“With this flu I’ve seen some healthy people developing pneumonia and require hospitalization,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leinen, medical director for urgent care at Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation. “Historically, that would be a sign that it’s a virulent strain. 
Although a trip to the doctor's office or urgent care may not be necessary for coughing and sneezing, if you begin to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fevers in excess of 100F or any illness lasting more than four or five days, a visit may be necessary.
The flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is easily spread by sneezing and coughing. Individual strains continually change, so vaccines are not very successful. Click here to find effective ways to manage during this flu season.