CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the cooler temperatures, the flu season is just around the corner.
Health officials are encouraging residents to get a flu shot before the end of October.
The Chicago Department of Public Health recommends everyone aged 6 months and older get their flu vaccine. They expect the flu season to arrive early this year.
The U.S. looks to Australia's winter to predict what will happen during flu season. This year, their flu season began two months early.
"They saw four times as many cases as they had in the average number of flu seasons in previous five years, and they saw two times as many deaths," said Cook County Health & Hospital Systems Dr. Sharon Welbel.
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Doctors said many people think the flu shot will make them sick, but that is a myth.
"It's a very safe vaccine. The vaccine you get with a needle is an inactivated vaccine, so it's impossible to get the flu from that, Welbel said.
This year's flu vaccine carries four viruses, and while it may not be 100% effective, doctors and nurses said those who have been vaccinated and get sick from a different strain are significantly less likely to be hospitalized.
With so many opportunities for free shots, medical experts there is no excuse not to get one.
"The only thing you can get from the flu shot is a little bit of soreness in the arm and some redness," said Anna Esquivel, with the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Along with getting vaccinated, doctors encourage people to stay healthy by washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home from school and work when you are sick.
Flu shot 2019: Health officials urge residents to get vaccinated by October 31
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