AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Flu cases are already popping up at area hospitals, and doctors said they expect the season to peak early this year.

Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth, said two patients came in with Influenza A on Sunday and one had to be hospitalized.

“The big message I have for everybody is get your flu shot early this year. I know there is always a debate of should I get it early or should I wait,” Barron said. 

Data from Australia shows the flu season peaked early there, and that is usually a good predictor of what the U.S. should expect.

“If we go by what they saw in Australia, we’ll see the highest number of cases in November and December, rather than December and January,” Barron said.

Plus, this could be a severe year for the flu.

Barron said it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to offer full protection, and that protection should last for about six months.

Dealing with COVID for so long, she hopes residents don’t become complacent about the flu.

“I don’t want people to underestimate what flu does. Flu can make you very sick. It can clearly cause hospitalizations and death,” she said.

COVID is still a concern, and the bivalent, omicron, COVID vaccine is available. Barron said it is OK to get both vaccines at the same time.