When the ball drops at midnight, careful who you kiss.

Ten counties in New Jersey have been reporting high levels of flu activity this month: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Union.

This winter's flu season is shaping up to be worse than last year's, which itself was a doozy with more than double the cases from the season before.

So far this season, which began in October, reported flu cases are up about 60 percent from the same weeks last year.

Monmouth County so far has had the highest number of confirmed lab results, followed closely by Bergen.

Emergency room visits by people with flu symptoms, however, are fewer so far this year, according to state Department of Health monitoring reports.

Officials expected this spike in flu weeks ago.

“We have seen several patients in the hospital with influenza, so they’ve had a bit more serious illnesses,” Dr. Ted Louie, an infectious disease expert affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, told New Jersey 101.5 earlier this month.

Flu symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat and muscle aches. Colds have less severe symptoms and no fever.

Flu symptoms can be treated with prescription Tamiflu.

If you feel miserable this weekend, doctors say the best thing you can do is count down to the New Year from home.

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