The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting the first flu-related death of the 2017-2018 influenza season. The flu shots are free.

In this region, the percentage was even lower and has been plummeting for four years.

Garvey says you can help yourself and everyone around you by not infecting them if you do get the flu.

"The good news is, the virus that they're seeing is one that's included in the seasonal vaccine this year", Glashower said.

But it's still a powerful weapon against influenza.

"Getting the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself from the flu", she said.

Many members of the public will conclude flu shots are unnecessary or even harmful when they see health professionals rejecting them.

Maryland is preparing for a busy flu season, including Harford County, the department noted in a news release. A concerted education campaign is overdue and would be preferable to trying to make flu shots mandatory. The flu vaccine can reduce influenza illness, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to the flu.

In addition to getting vaccinated, residents are encouraged to follow three simple rules: wash hands, cover coughs, and stay home if sick. As that flu season comes to an end in Australia, some experts believe it could be a sign of what's to come for the U.S. Oeding said it's too early to tell how bad this year's flu season will be, but she does know of people already diagnosed with the virus. For more information and resources, including the Flu Vaccine Finder widget, visit