Australia's flu season could be early indication for what's in store for the US

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The peak of the flu season is weeks away, but already, there are indications that the U.S. could be in for a bad season.

Rei Montalvo and her kids never skip their flu shots but her husband does.

"He also believes that by him not getting it, he's not getting sick, but I think it's just that we're not bringing it home," said Montalvo.


That's exactly right, according to medical professionals, who say getting the flu shot protects not only you, but also the people around you.

According to the Florida Department of Health, flu activity has increased in Florida over the last two weeks but remains low overall.

The state also reported six new respiratory disease outbreaks.

Dr. Allen Todd, of Ascension St. Vincent's Family Medicine, said officials look to the Southern Hemisphere to try to predict what our flu season might be like.

"A lot of what happens in the Southern Hemisphere is based on what the virus but also based on whatever that community is like. Are they immunocompromised?" said Todd.

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According to the American Council on Science and Health, Australia had a bad flu season because of a predominant strain known as H3N2.

The organization said that based on the data from Australia, it's reasonable to expect we could be in store for a potentially bad season, as well.

"It makes me think about boosting my own immune system and taking care of my body and you know, handwashing and that kind of stuff," said Angelique Newman.

Todd encourages everyone to get the flu shot, which has already been updated this year based on what strains are expected to be circulating in the U.S.