WHILE the world comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, another flu season is lurking around the corner.
Last year in the Murrumbidgee Local Health hundreds of residents were diagnosed with influenza, with many unable to work for several weeks while they recovered.
To prevent that from happening this year, Leeton shire's pharmacists are calling on residents to have the flu vaccine so they are better armed to fight the illness.
Leeton Amcal and Chemist Outlet Leeton pharmacist Tejaskumar (TJ) Patel said sooner was better when it comes to being vaccinated.
"If you are covered for flu vaccination, at least your immunity is protecting you against that virus," he said.
"We need to be prepared and that's why it's earlier the better.
"I know people have questions about if they get it now, how long does it last for immunity.
"We believe if you have it now, you will be covered for three to four months, which takes you through those winter months.
"If you get it now, it takes you 14 days to be covered, so now is definitely the right time to do it."
With no vaccine yet for the coronavirus, some of the measures in place to fight that virus, are also helping when it comes to the flu.
Things such as social distancing, regular hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing into an elbow, all also helps in preventing the spread of the flu.
The Bush Chemist's Leeton pharmacist Carrie Stewart also recommended residents start booking in to have their shots now.
Appointments are necessary and some may even need to be placed on a waiting list, so the time to be organised is now.
At The Bush Chemist, immunisations are happening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"We are booking up," Ms Stewart said.
"There's an increased uptake this year with what has been going on.
"Last year the flu season started early and there were many cases here. Influenza can be quite a severe illness.
"It can affect people that they are so sick they can't work for a week or two.
"People at risk should also be getting it now if they haven't already."