BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Local doctors are encouraging North Dakotans to get their flu shot before Halloween.

Doctors worry that this year’s flu season is going to be tougher than usual. That’s because Australia is experiencing its worst flu season in five years. To predict each flu season, the doctors in the United States usually look towards Australia’s flu season as it often mirrors how our season could be.

“We experience our influenza seasons at opposite times,” said Levi Schlosser, an Influenza Surveillance Coordinator. “While we experience ours in the fall and the winter, they experience theirs over the summer. So, we can look to them to see what the severity of the flu season might look like. It’s not always exact but they are seeing a high influenza activity.”

Another reason doctors worry about this year’s flu season is because both the flu and COVID-19 will be present. Doctors encourage everybody to wash their hands regularly and cover your mouth when you cough with the inside of your arm, not into your hands.