It’s flu season, so arm yourself with a vaccination

This Flu season is expected to be rough one

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 file photo, a woman receives a flu vaccine shot at a community fair in Brownsville, Texas. On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, U.S. health officials released new estimates showing the previous winter’s flu vaccine was ineffective in protecting older Americans against the illness, even though the vaccine was well-matched to the flu bugs going around. (Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – This Flu season is expected to be rough one. Flu season, usually starts as early as October, but according Dr. Ira Helfand from the Family Care Medical Center in Springfield, health officials have already confirmed several cases.

“Everyone needs to get a flu shot this year, that’s really the key way for people to protect themselves,” said Dr. Helfand. Especially this year. And that’s because there’s been a major flu outbreak in Australia that could affect us here in the United States. “The concern is with this large outbreak H3N1 in Australia, that has been going on over our summer, their winter. That’s the strain we’re going to see this winter,” Helfand told 22News.

Every flu season is different and influenza infection can affect people differently.

Millions of people get the flu every year. Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related causes every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rita Leger of Chicopee said, its imperative her husband gets his flu shot. “He has severe COPD. His lungs are all congested, so if he gets the flu, he could die from it.” Leger continued, “I get it every year, because I don’t want to get the flu.”

Vaccination don’t make you bulletproof, but it will definitely lower your chances by about 60%.

Beverley Kopec of South Hadley told 22News, “It’s best to get the flu shot. I’ve had the flu a long time ago and I think it’s better to get the flu shot, because it does prevent you from getting it worst.”

And people come up with plenty of excuses, to not get a flu shot. Health experts recommend if you’re scared of shots, call a friend, read a book or listen to a happy song before your shot.

Flu vaccines are recommended for anyone 6 months and older, with some children requiring two rounds but most adults only needing one shot.