You may want to get your flu vaccine sooner rather than later this year. Doctors are urging people to get vaccinated now before flu season officially begins.

More than 160 thousand people had the flu this year. Cases range from mild to severe, some even causing death. It is why doctors are encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccines before it’s too late.

It may still feel like summer, but flu season is here. “Flu season is typically in the fall and winter months and extends into early spring. Which is typically our sick season in this area,” said Doctor Jonathan Kerely.

The staff at Fast Access Healthcare are ready to treat the patients coming in. Just last month, positive cases of the flu started showing up. “In late August we were seeing positive flu cases and already cases in September.”

Doctor Kerely said like every year, there is something you can do to prevent getting sick; get a flu shot. And the time to start thinking about getting one, is now. “Pharmacies have started offering early in the season. Started doing that more and more every year. Most doctors’ offices offer that as well.”

In addition to getting your shot, Doctor Kerely reminds you to frequently and thoroughly wash your hands, sneeze into your arm and throw away all used tissues to help prevent the spread of flu which is highly contagious. “The yucks, patients come in saying I feel really bad, coughs, cold, fevers, and body aches.”

He said it's always hard to predict what is going to happen, but people should be prepared but now that the flu is in the Tennessee Valley, Doctor Kerely said it's unlikely it'll slow down, let alone stop. ”We have to wait and see. If it is any indication of what we are seeing already, we should be prepared and get ready. Of course we are already getting prepared for sick people and seeing more and more. I would expect this year might be interesting.”

Remember, it takes one to two weeks after receiving a flu shot to have full protection. And like last year, the nasal flu mist is not recommended.