The Flu is hitting the Northstate early and hard this season, according to health professionals. There are some deadly strains that have killed at least a dozen children nationwide. Mercy Medical Center has seen an alarming surge of Influenza patients, alarming not only because of their numbers but because of the severity of their symptoms. The Flu vaccine distributed this season has not been an ideal match for the strains being seen. Doctors still recommend getting the vaccine because, although it may not prevent the Flu it can make the symptoms milder and make them end sooner. The most important advice from doctors is about Flu etiquette. They say cover your sneezes, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and if your sick, stay home instead of spreading it to other people. The vaccine is available from Shasta County Public Health and it’s covered by Medi-Cal and Medicare, or it can be purchased for $11. Their number is 225-5591.