It seems flu season cranks up earlier and earlier each year, and 2022 is no exception. Influenza continues to invade the nation with its usual pattern, and this season's cases are doubling by the week.

In an ABC News report, 23,000 folks have been reported hospitalized and 1,300 have died from the flu this season alone. Unfortunately the numbers show no signs of slowing down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim in a weekly statement there have been over 6,000 patients admitted to hospitals with lab-confirmed cases of influenza just this week.

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According to WebMD, the CDC has labeled 16 states where the risk of respiratory outpatient illnesses has been deemed "very high". What does that mean for Texans? Scroll to see which states are most affected.

Photo: Lacheev/Getty Images
Photo: Lacheev/Getty Images
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LOOK: 16 STATES IN THE U.S. WHERE THE FLU IS RUNNING CRAZY

The 16 states and metropolitan areas the CDC has recently labeled as high risk for outpatient influenza cases:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • New York City
Close-up medical syringe with a vaccine.
Photo: Marian Vejcik/Getty Images
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Reputedly, the greatest preventative measure against contracting the flu is to be vaccinated each year. Find out more information on the flu vaccine, including a vaccination location near you.

Flu.com suggests other ways you can protect yourself and your family this year. They include:

  • Covering your mouth or nose with a tissue when you sneeze.
  • Keeping hands clean by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

No one enjoys being sick or laid up in the hospital. It's best to be prepared.

Speaking of being prepared...winter is coming. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared out and about on the road. Below is a list of items to store in your vehicle that could save your life. Stay safe out there.

Put These 7 Things in Your Vehicle and Stay Safe This Winter in Central Texas

Let's take a look at some of the best-rated emergency items to keep in your car or truck, where you can find them, and how much they cost.

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