SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — According to the Coastal Health District, they do not track flu cases but rather track flu activity using a scale. On a scale from 1 to 13, with 13 being the highest, Georgia has been high for several weeks. The state is currently at a 10.

Dr. Tim Connelly, an Internal Medicine doctor from Memorial Health said with flu cases on the rise he suggests residents across the Hostess city get their flu shot.

“So people not vaccinated are at most risk for influenza,” Connelly said. “This year’s vaccine is particularly effective against influenza with 70% of the sequenced influenza viruses testing positive for H3N2 which is one of the two variants that we have in this most recent influenza vaccine.”

He also said if someone is dealing with a serious health condition they should get vaccinated.

“And people with comorbid medical conditions, especially those with asthma and chronic lung problems are really feeling the brunt of illness due to influenza this year,” Connelly said.

The reason for this increase is that many people followed CDC guidelines for years and because Americans have stopped wearing masks and social distancing, it is becoming a problem.

“So as time goes on, there is an unintended consequence of being too good and masking too well, and social distancing too well, and our immune system forgets these common viruses that we see,” Connelly said. “So now, our immune system is trying to play catch up, and we’re seeing a lot of illnesses as a result”.

Even though the flu is not 100% preventable, the best way to protect yourself is to wear their masks again, social distance and do not let this illness go untreated.

“Well, all the things we’ve been talking about the past two years with masking when you’re out and about,” Connelly said. “Obviously when you are in a big wide open space outdoors is probably not as useful if you are in small, enclosed spaces with multiple individuals. Hygiene is very important, that prevents you from getting ill.”

If you cannot get to a hospital, Connelly said to try setting up a telehealth appointment or visit a local urgent care.