GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Dr. Christian Montagano says he's looking across the globe to the southern hemisphere to see how our flu season here at home might play out.
"Their flu season starts earlier than us; they're usually may through October," he said.
He's talking about Australia.
This year, he says Australia's flu season started earlier than usual in March.
So far, there have been more than 200,000 cases and 600 deaths--in a country with around 300 million less people than the US.
"It's one of their worst flu seasons on record," said Montagano. "And if that's what's trending, we're probably looking at the same thing they're looking at."
Since Australia can also see the same strains of the virus we do here, he says we could be in for a long flu season.
"The key to prevention is: get your flu shot and get it early. Especially this year, we are recommending getting it earlier than what we did last year," he explained.
He says the hot temperatures we've been having this year may have also lured people into complacency.
"The weather is starting to turn, it's going to start getting colder, people are going to be staying indoors, being around other people in enclosed environments, which creates the perfect setup for the flu to start spreading," Montagano said.
He says proper hygiene, and staying home if you do get sick, are key. And even if you aren't as quick to get vaccinated--you still should.
"I think there's never a 'too late' moment. Even into January and February of last year, we were recommending you still get it if you weren't vaccinated," he said.