Doctors warn of potentially bad flu season ahead

SEATTLE – If Australia's flu season this year is any indication of what's to come here at home, we might be in for a bad one.

Doctors say now is a good time to start thinking about the upcoming flu season and getting vaccinated.

“It’s not too early. We really want people to get a vaccine whenever its available before the season hits.” said Dr. John Lynch, Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Harborview Medical Center.

The flu season is unpredictable. From the timing of the season, to the severity and length.

Some health experts are looking at the recent flu season in Australia to see if it can be any indication of what the upcoming flu season holds in the U.S.

“Australia had a pretty rough season, and it started early,” said Dr. Lynch.

While no one can predict with 100 percent accuracy what this flu season will look like, the last two previous years were severe. The flu was a dangerous epidemic killing tens of thousands of people across the country.

There’s also a heightened concern for severe lung disease linked to vaping.

“The outcomes can potentially be terrible, particularly a lot of these young folks who are having these bad outcomes with vaping,” said Dr. Lynch.

The flu and vaping mixed together are uncharted territory, but what doctors can say with certainty is the best protection against the influenza virus is the flu shot.

“So little babies, older folks people with other medical problems who can’t have the vaccine are counting on us to protect them,” said Dr. Lynch.

This year’s vaccine protects against two types of A strain viruses and two types of B strain viruses.

Doctors say the flu vaccine can take up to two weeks to become effective. They suggest getting vaccinated by the end of October.