WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Flu season is beginning in Sedgwick County, and it's earlier than many previous years. Normally, people don't think about the flu until fall, but summer has brought it in early. 

The USA models their flu predictions based off of Australia.

“And what they saw this year in Australia is that flu numbers kind of hit a little earlier on. So most likely we're gonna see them in the US as well,” said Mike Ryan, a pharmacy practice coordinator. 

“Flu season has begun in regards to knowing that there are positive cases in the Sedgwick County,” said Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne.

Flu symptoms can include headache, fatigue, fever, and congestion and can be very dangerous. 

“The flu can get dangerous because you have that respiratory disease going on. Your lungs can potentially get a lot of fluid in which can lead to secondary infection like pneumonia, something like that end up in hospitalization or for worse,” said Ryan.

“People die in Kansas every year from the flu or flu related illnesses,” said Byrne.

Last year, 95 Kansans died of the flu, and 1,552 Kansans died from pneumonia and influenza.

You can prevent the flu by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and practicing good hand hygiene. 

“So washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer after you touch surfaces when you're out and about, but also you know, the flu shot is the biggest thing, biggest way to prevent that,” said Ryan. 

Health experts recommend everyone over six months old gets the flu vaccine. The flu shot acts not just as a preventative measure, but to decrease the severity of symptoms in the event you fall ill.

Doctors emphasize the safety of the flu vaccine and maintains it saves lives every single year.

“With having the flu shot, someone still may get ill, but it reduces the duration and how severe the flu actually is,” said Byrne.