Data from the flu season that's wrapping up in the Southern Hemisphere has doctors preparing for what could be a bad one in the United States this winter.
Australia is seeing its worst flu season in five years.
“We should be prepared to expect higher rates of flu than what we've seen in the last few years, then again we're always preparing to see higher rates of flu,” said Dr. Shira Doron with Tufts Medical Center.
Another thing doctors are watching is who is getting infected. Data from Australia showed kids ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of flu cases this year.
“Children have not had the opportunity to be exposed to as many viruses or over the course of their lifetime and over the last few years because of masks and distancing and closed schools and no travel and all of the things that we've done to prevent COVID, they have had less exposure to viruses including influenza,” said Doron. “And that is going to make them more susceptible to influenza.”
In a normal flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those under age 2 or over 65 years old are considered at the highest risk for flu complications.
Flu shots are already available at some pharmacies, but there's a debate over if it's too soon to get one. Typically, people wait until September or October.
This would be around the time the new COVID boosters are expected to be ready as well. Doctors say there are no issues with getting both shots at once if you'd like.