BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- This year, health professionals fear flu season will be worse than previous years.
"What we've noticed so far is that the number of confirmed cases is about twice as much as it was this time last year," said Marian Hollander, Public Health Nurse at the Broome County Health Department.
Australia has an earlier flu season than the United States, which can help predict how well the flu vaccine will work here. "Their flu shot, which is also the same as our flu shot, did not have an effective season," said Hollander.
Dr. Pardis Sabeti said in an interview with CBS This Morning, "They had a very bad flu season, about five times as many cases than the previous year and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the vaccine was only 10 percent as effective."
While there's a chance this years flu vaccine might not be as effective, experts said it's still worth getting the shot. Hollander said, "Let's say worse case its 10 or 20 percent, well 10 or 20 percent is a lot better than no percent."
Hollander says the flu virus acts fast and should be taken seriously.
"The flu shot could mean life or death," she said. "We get reports of how many people were in the hospital with the flu, how many associated deaths were there from the flu and every week we see how many children died of the flu."
To protect yourself this flu season, Hollander says its not too late to get vaccinated, you should wash your hands frequently, cover your cough or sneeze and stay home if you're sick. She said, "The more people that are protected the less people that are going to get flu."