EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The flu season is off to a tough start, and the CDC says it's likely to get worse.
Across the country, there are more than double the number of flu cases than usual this time of year.
The Eau Claire City-County Health Department says it's difficult to know exactly why this year seems to be worse for the flu.
However, director Lieske Giese says to avoid getting sick, do the usual washing hands, covering coughs, if you're not feeling well stay home and of course get the flu shot.
“We're seeing high rates of influenza across the U.S. and even in Wisconsin the number of cases that have been identified already have been double what we've seen up to this point as well,” said Giese.
The department it's going to get worse as the holidays approach since families will be traveling and hanging together in close quarters.
“We often see a spike in influenza cases right after the holidays,” explained Giese. “So, it's really important not only to protect yourself from other people that might be coming but to protect others in case you get it and spread it. You don't want to do that, that's not the gift you want to give.”
The CDC says 10,0000 cases have been reported so far this year, which is more than twice as many as last year at this time. Giese said in Eau Claire there have already been two hospitalizations.
“Getting the flu can be missing work or school for a couple of days but it can also be much more serious. Every year people do die of the flu and it is something to pay attention to,” she said.
While doctors are concerned the flu shot may be only 10% effective against this year's main strain of the flu the department says that doesn't mean you shouldn't get the shot.
“The flu vaccine is always your best way to protect yourself against influenza. This year the match is not as strong as we've seen in other years but it certainly will still protect you and that protection is really important,” added Giese.
The department recommends the flu vaccine for anyone older than 6 months