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ATLANTA -- The emergency departments at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are reporting record volumes, and it's still early in the flu season.

Georgia health officials also report that schools systems in the state are reporting high absenteeism from the flu.

"The level of activity we're seeing right now we normally don't see until the end of December of after the first of the year," said Tom Skinner, senior public affairs officer for the Atlanta-based CDC.

Skinner said states in the Southare being hit the hardest.

In fact, some schools in Tennessee have canceled classes to avoid the spread of the virus.

With several weeks left to go before the peak of the flu season, health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"The vaccine on average is 60 to 70 percent effective in preventing the flu," Skinner said. "People who come down with the flu and have been vaccinated tend to have a less severe form of the disease, which is also good."

Skinner points out this season's flu vaccine appears to be working well.

"There appears to be a really good match between what's circulating out there and what's in the vaccine," he said.

Officials at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are encouraging parents not to bring their children to the ER for flu treatment unless they have a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes.

For more information about the flu, including symptomsvisit Children's Healthcare's flu webpage.

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