'Tis the season for the chills, aches, and sniffles that come with the flu. And this year's strain of the viral infection is hitting the Tri-State area with a vengeance.

24/7 Wall St. has looked at the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which show that respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and sore throat were reported in 7.5% of all visits to healthcare providers during the week ending November 26.

Experts say it's shaping up to be the worst flu season in more than a decade.

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So far, there have been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations, and 4,500 deaths from flu so far this season.

In the Tri-State area, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota are among 15 states experiencing high levels of the flu.

Both the Hawkeye State and North Star State saw flu-like symptoms in 5.8 percent of hospital patients, while in the Mount Rushmore State it was 3.3 percent.

A whopping 29 states are trending in the very high level, with New Mexico (14.3%), Tennessee (13.6%), Washington (12.9%), Kentucky (11.0%), Ohio (10.7%), Nebraska (10.6%) leading the way.

Only four states - Alaska, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Vermont - fall in the low or minimal levels.

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