TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) – Health experts are expecting the number of influenza cases this year to reach pre-pandemic levels and they’re encouraging folks to protect themselves.

Before the pandemic, Selina Hightower, of Niles, said she didn’t get the flu shot. Her doctor insisted she take it last year, so she did, and this year she’ll do the same.

“With my age and it seems to be harder on the older people, on the elderly. So I like being able to walk around and do for myself, so I want to keep myself as healthy as possible,” she said.

Dr. Munir Shah, an infectious disease doctor for Trumbull Regional Medical Center, expects to see a surge in influenza A and B cases this flu season.

Dr. Shah believes the number of flu cases this year could be higher than the number of cases in the past two years.

“Since the restriction has calmed down from COVID-19, we are no longer wearing masks. I think we will go back to pre-pandemic time when influenza A and B will pick up starting October,” Dr. Shah said.

As we prepare for a change in seasons, health experts recommend you consider getting your flu shot sooner rather than later.

“This is the right time, you know, just to receive it prior to the flu season starting. You should take the vaccine because once you take the vaccine, it takes about 14 days for your antibody levels to pick up for your full immunity against it,” Dr. Shah said.

Hightower says she plans to get this year’s flu shot soon.

“Since I talked to you, maybe I’ll go this weekend,” she said.