Have you been coughing and sneezing? Running a temperature and feeling achy?

You could be coming down with the flu.

According to state epidemiologist Tina Tan, influenza activity has increased significantly over the past couple of weeks.

She said most of the Garden State had low flu activity through the middle of December, but the latest data shows high flu activity in the central and northeastern parts of the state.

This isn't shocking.

“We kind of expect to start to see an increase in activity at this time of the year. We peak around January, February, here in New Jersey,” she said.

“Flu activity will change week to week in various regions, but we are definitely seeing increased activity throughout.”

She explained right now the predominant strain of flu that’s circulating is A H3N2, and fortunately, “it seems like there’s a pretty decent match right now with the seasonable flu vaccine that’s available, but we’ll know a little bit more as more data becomes available and the CDC issues reports.”

So how do you know if you’ve got the flu, or just a cold?

Tan notes that sometimes it’s difficult to determine exactly what kind of malady you’ve got, however, “the typical symptoms that you see associated with flu are fever, cough, sore body, aches.”

If people are concerned about their health they definitely should go see their physician to get a diagnosis.

“This is because if you are diagnosed with the flu there are different medications that are out there — anti flu medications that could really help to improve the symptoms and the course of flu illness,” she said.

Flu vaccines

“It is definitely not too late to get the flu vaccine. As long as there’s flu circulating in the community you should get the flu vaccine. It’s the most important step you can take to protect yourself from getting influenza.”

Tan also recommends taking simple, everyday preventive actions.

“This would include frequent hand washing. This is a good idea for preventing any sort of communicable infectious disease,” she said.

And if you do come down with the flu, “make sure that you cover your coughs and sneezes and also stay home when you’re sick.”

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