NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Pathologists from all over the country are in New Orleans this week for a big convention, and they are expressing concerns about an unusually intense flu season.

“Our best predictor is what Australia sees, which is our summer, which is their winter. Their winter had the worst flu season than they’ve had in the last five years,” Dr. Christi Wojewoda, Director of Clinical Microbiology lab at the University of Vermont Medical Center and Chair of College of American Pathologists Clinical Microbiology Committee said.

She said brace yourself for what could be a bad flu season.

“We are starting to see flu numbers creep up,” she said.

Dr. Wojewoda is in New Orleans with other pathologists for the College of American Pathologists Convention at the Hyatt Regency. This flu season is one of the hot topics they are discussing.

“We could be seeing more flu than we’ve seen in the last few years,” she said.

The reason flu cases have been down in recent years is because of COVID-19 and the fact that people were wearing masks and social distancing, now they are not.

“That means we haven’t been exposed to respiratory viruses like influenza so our body’s may not have the immune response that we usually have from getting infected seasonally with respiratory viruses,” she said.

She says that’s why this year it is even more important to get your flu shot, along with your COVID-19 booster shot to give you the ultimate protection.

“One in one arm, one in the other, get it all taken care of in one appointment. These are two totally different viruses. You need both shots to make sure you are as protected as you can be, this Fall and Winter,” she said.