BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A health warning. Doctors say they are already starting to see flu cases coming in! This after the flu reached epidemic levels last year.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the health warning.

The CDC predicts between five and 20% of people will get the flu—and they warn it’s time to get the vaccine now.

It’s a feeling no one wants, but flu season is back.

“Wipes you out. You become a worn-out dish rag,” said one.

Doctors at Medstar PromptCare in Pikesville say they are already seeing cases coming in.

“October is the official start. I mean, October is just a few days away. Everything is a bell curve. There’s always a few people at the beginning and a few at the end,” said Dr. Leigh Vinocur Medstar PromptCare.

Healthcare professionals are gearing up after a brutal season last year that saw 146 pediatric flu deaths—that’s an increase from 112 child deaths the season before.

“Every year, patients are hospitalized. The flu kills over 30,000 people a year,” she said.

At the beginning of last season, lines to get a vaccine stretched out clinic doors. But according to the CDC, just 47% of Americans get the shot. CDC officials admit last season’s flu vaccine was largely ineffective after a different strain started spreading.

“That strain, which only emerged as the vaccine had already been produced…that that strain was not much protected by the flu vaccination last year,” Frieden said.

The CDC predicts this year’s vaccine will be much better as it now protects against that strain.

“Even if the match is not 100% perfect, you still will have a much milder case,” Dr. Tom Frieden, Centers for Disease Control, said.

A step to take now that could save you some pain later.

Doctors suggest anyone six months or older should get the vaccine.

Baltimore County is offering free flu shots on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at seven different locations.

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