LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — We’re now in flu season and the virus is expected to be much more severe this year.

Leaders with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this is partly due to most COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, leaving more opportunities for influenza to attack.

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself is by getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

This season there is also a new recommendation from the CDC for the use of a higher dose and adjuvanted flu vaccine in people that are 65 or older.

According to health experts, influenza in the southern hemisphere has been very active this year. This is the reason they anticipate impacts to reach the northern hemisphere.

Health officials say reasons why we may see more cases this year include people wearing fewer masks, health guidelines being lifted, and a decline in our immunity due to the flu being mild in the past couple of years.

The CDC says the flu is impacting more young age groups this year than what has typically been seen in prior years.

“We are all susceptible to the flu. People who are very young, very old or who have chronic medical conditions are at risk for more complications and more at risk for the flu. So while its important for all of us to get vaccinated, it’s really important for young people, old people and people who have illnesses to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Susan Rehm, Infectious Disease Specialist with Cleveland Clinic

According to the CDC, it is safe to get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine together.