SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It's a growing public health issue. Eighteen people across Massachusetts have died from the flu this season.
Baystate Medical Center has temporarily banned visitors under the age of 14. Visitors who have flu-like symptoms or have been exposed are asked to stay home, and no patient can have more than two visitors at a time.
"I've had the flu before and it's not very pleasant," said Joan Vaughan of North Haven, CT.
A lot of people who make sure to get their flu shot remember the year they didn't...
"Kind of miserable. Achy all over, running to the bathroom. Not a pleasant kind of thing," Vaughan added.
The Centers for Disease Control said we haven't seen a flu season like this one in more than a decade. But even that won't make everyone get the shot.
"I just never have gotten it and I don't see a difference in people who have gotten it or have not. 1031 Lot of hand washing and Listerine. I do sleep a lot. I'm sure that helps," said Nancy Caplette of Agawam.
It takes two weeks after receiving your flu shot to build up an immunity. Doctors say you can protect yourself by washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer and staying away from people with flu-like symptoms.
Some people fear getting the shot will actually make them sick. But doctors say it's not the case.
"Some people will get sick in that two week window after they've gotten the flu vaccine and it's a coincidence but it's easy to think back and say oh I got the flu vaccine maybe that caused my symptoms. It's just a coincidence," said Dr. Sarah Haessler of Baystate Medical Center.
The flu season usually lasts six weeks to a couple of months, sometime between late October and March. Doctors urge those who haven't gotten the shot to do so, as there's still plenty of time to get sick.