Influenza cases this year have spiked earlier than expected. The flu shot is safe for adults and kids six months and older and provides protection starting two weeks after injection.

Credit: AP

Georgia's public health agency is urging residents to get flu shots without delay, saying illnesses as widespread across the state.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says it has confirmed more than 200 people in the state have been hospitalized because of flu this season and two sickened people have died.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been more than 2.6 million flu-related illnesses nationwide.

Georgia's public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, said in a news release that everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot. She says it usually takes two weeks after the shot for a person's body to develop the antibodies needed to fight the flu.