HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s flu season again, and this year, there are indications the U.S. could be in for a pretty bad one. Geoffrey Roche, a Population Health faculty member at Harrisburg University, says after several years of just hearing “COVID shot,” it’s time to start thinking about flu shots again, too.

Roche says over the last few years, many Americans have worn masks, practiced social distancing, and had limited public interaction. He says those measures have meant fewer flu cases.

But now that people are going back to school with less masking and less social distancing, Roche says it is important to ensure protection against the flu, and the way to do that is by getting the flu vaccine.

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On top of that, he says, taking the time to wash your hands when needed can save you from getting sick.

“A lot of people don’t realize that often times flu season starts, the recommendation is that you get your vaccination either late September, early October, because it goes through the fall all the way until the early spring, so what I always encourage individuals to do is talk to your medical professional if you have questions, but ultimately the recommendation is to get your flu vaccination earlier so that you have that protection throughout flu season,” Roche said.

CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are all scheduling flu shot appointments now.