WORCESTER, Mass. - As the weather gets colder, health officials are advising everyone to get a flu shot.

UMass Memorial Health's Dr. Robert Klugman said it's important as they're expecting to see an increase in flu cases this year. Klugman said they typically follow what is happening in Australia because they're just now coming out of their winter season. They had their worst flu season in five years, but Klugman said the good news is the variant Australia had is one the vaccine is effective for. 

Klugman said last year many people were still taking COVID precautions and masking up which could have prevented many from getting the flu, but this year with many precautions dropped, they're already starting to see a rise in cases. 

"Because people have been masking and protecting themselves from COVID for two years we haven't seen much flu, which means everyone's immunity has waned as it does with COVID and other things, we lose our immunity," Klugman said. "So we're expecting more people and sicker people on top of COVID, which is going to further crowd our hospitals and tax our system."

Klugman said they're already seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases as well and are encouraging people to be vaccinated for both the flu and COVID as soon as possible.