NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new warning from federal health officials about the upcoming flu season.
The CDC says this could be one of the worst seasons on record.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports that the best way to protect ourselves is to get a flu shot.
Dr. Gomez says he just got his on Thursday and you can get yours at most drug stores and urgent care clinics.
As for why this could be a bad flu season, that’s based on what happened in Australia – where their winter flu season is just wrapping up.
Australia is often the predictor of what the U.S. flu season will be like. They just had the highest number of flu cases in their history; more than four times than the year before.
That should be a warning for the U.S. where health officials got their flu shots on camera Thursday to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.
“As Benjamin Franklin advised us, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said.
The CDC estimates only 45 percent of U.S. adults and 63 percent of children got vaccinated last year.
Health officials say while the vaccine isn’t perfect, it’s worth it for even partial protection.
“I analogized getting vaccinated to wearing your seat belt. It doesn’t mean you’re invincible, but it offers very substantial protection for very little effort,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
Last year’s U.S. flu season was one of the longest on record after a new strain emerged in April. The year before was the deadliest in decades.
While the CDC says it’s too early to really know what this flu season will hold, the good news is that so far it hasn’t gotten off to an early start.