Too early to predict flu season, but doctors say get your shot now

This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 photo shows single dosage syringes of the Fluarix quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine in New York. There's not much flu going around in the United States so far _ unlike the last three seasons when doctors' offices were filled with patients before Christmas and the worst hit by late December. The government's latest flu tracking data was released Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s officially fall. The weather is getting colder, leaves will be changing color, and the flu could be right around the corner.

Doctors at PinnacleHealth say the best way to prevent getting the flu is the flu shot, although it’s a little early to predict when the season will hit this year.

Bobby Tabler works in the restaurant business and says he’s never gotten the flu.

“I am not having the flu shot this year,” Tabler said. “The reasoning why is just from a health standpoint. I am in the younger range. I just turned 34, so I’m not really in that risk factor.”

“If you get a flu shot, not only do you protect yourself from getting the flu, but you make it less likely you’ll infect someone else,” said John D. Goldman, infectious disease specialist at PinnacleHealth.

Getting your flu shot is Goldman’s main tip to avoid getting the flu.

“We don’t really know which of these viruses this year is going to be the main virus. We do know that the flu shots cover both of them,” Goldman said.

Those two main flu viruses affecting people during the past few years are H3N2 and H1N1. H3N2 typically peaks earlier and is more severe.

H1N1, or the Swine Flu, is the other one. It’s not as severe, usually peaks later, and can make young people very sick.

“We don’t know when the season’s going to start, whether it’s going to start early or start late. As a result, we’re recommending that people get these flu shots as soon they become available. We’re recommending that they get them now,” Goldman said.

“Just get it if you think you need it,” Tabler said.

Goldman has some tips on preventing the flu, in addition to getting your flu shot.

“A lot of preventing the flu is the things your mother used to tell you: rest, get enough sleep, but most importantly, frequent hand washing, starting about now until April or so,” Goldman said.

Doctors say another way to prevent catching the flu is not touching your hands to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

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