Cases of influenza on the rise across the country

Doctors are saying kids and teens are bearing much of the brunt of the dreaded winter flu bug, predicting that the peak of the annual sneezing-coughing-feeling-miserable season is likely still several weeks away.

This year's flu season has a far different profile than last year's -- it began earlier and the predominant circulating A strain is H1-N1, the viral type that caused the pandemic in 2009-2010 but hasn't made much of an appearance for the last few years.

Those previous seasons were dominated by H3-N2, an influenza A strain that is particularly hard on older adults and which typically carries a higher risk of complications like pneumonia that can lead to hospitalization or death.

In contrast, H1-N1 tends to target children and younger adults more than seniors.

Health officials are saying children under nine years of age and non-elderly adults will be disproportionately affected.

While H1-N1-predominant seasons tend to be milder overall at the population level compared to those characterized primarily by H3-N2, individuals who get hit with either strain won't detect much of a difference.

Both bring on fever, cough, general malaise and achy muscles and joints.