NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – New numbers from the Northampton Department of Health and Human Services shows an early spike in flu cases. They’re also putting out reminders about COVID-19 and RSV.

The Health Commissioner said this is the highest number of flu cases they’ve seen in the last five years and that’s why they’re really emphasizing you get up to date on your vaccines.

“Just this year to date, it’s five times more than the cumulative of the last five years,” said Merridith O’Leary from the Department of Health and Human Services.

O’Leary said the flu came about a month early this year and cases are climbing up fast. However the good news is the current flu shot is proving to be effective against this strain.

“The flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine, they do their job. They can’t prevent you from getting it but when you do, they prevent you from getting a less severe case,” said O’Leary.

Speaking of COVID-19, those cases are also up. O’Leary said wastewater data reveals a post-Thanksgiving bump, and whether it’s COVID-19, the flu or RSV, those symptoms are similar. That’s why both O’Leary and Bridget Diggins, a public health nurse with the Easthampton Health Department are saying if you feel sick, stay home.

Diggins told 22News, “Make sure you’re covering your nose and your mouth when you’re coughing or sneezing. Good hand hygiene. Washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth and just practice other good health habits.”

Both health departments have free stuff available to you like at home COVID-19 tests, masks, hand sanitizer and more. There’s also a COVID-19 vaccine clinic coming up at the Amherst Survival Center on the 16th from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. where you can get a $75 dollar gift card.