SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Flu season has arrived and it’s predicted that there will be an increase in cases compared to last year.

A combination of good hygiene, listening to health expert recommendations and being proactive now is the best way to remain healthy amid flu season. The CDC has reported higher than usual rates of flu cases this year, a concern among health experts.

“I think the most important thing people can do is get their flu shot,” said Dr. Sunny Shukla from Baystate Health.

“So now’s definitely the time if you haven’t gotten your flu shot already to come on out to your local pharmacy and get your flu shot,” said Big Y Pharmacy Resident Laura Divirgilio.

Most pharmacies offer regular doses of the flu shot, as well as double doses for those at higher risk, like young children and the elderly. The quadrivalent vaccine, which is also available at most pharmacies, protects against both influenza A and influenza B.

22News stopped by the West Springfield Council on Aging where the importance of the flu shot was discussed.

“Well I think it keeps us above getting sick, and I myself have four grandchildren and I try to get whatever shot is out there, so I don’t relay any bad stuff on them,” said Sandy O’Dea of Feeding Hills.

West Springfield resident Gail Goodenow told 22News, “I’m a military veteran and ever since I was in the military, I had to get shots every year, all sorts of shots. and I’ve really remained pretty healthy all my life because of that.”

While getting that flu shot is the first thing you’re going to want to do to prevent getting the flu this year, you might also want to consider some pandemic practices, like masking up before heading into a supermarket or other crowded places.

“Making sure you’re washing your hands, you have your hand sanitizer with you when you go to the grocery store, more populated areas, you’re washing your hands after,” said Divirgilio.

At the Big Y Pharmacy, no appointment is necessary. Just walk-in and get your flu shot hassle-free.