CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The common cold and the flu have made a comeback in recent months as COVID-19 precautions were removed in local communities.

Many public health protocols such as social distancing, mask mandates, as well as good overall hygiene, like regular hand washing, played a large role in preventing the spread of viruses throughout the pandemic. Now many communities have already rolled back these pandemic restrictions.

The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 5.3 million flu illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths from flu.

“Honestly I’ve been not feeling as well and I called the hospital and the doctors, they’re saying it could be the flu,” Aristotal Garcia of Springfield told 22News.

Health experts suggest that those experiencing symptoms get tested, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and clean surfaces regularly.