NEW BEDFORD - Flu season is upon us.

Dr. Robert Caldas, Chief Medical Officer at Southcoast Hospitals Group, says this year's most prevalent strain, H3N2, can be serious and even fatal to those who are more susceptible to illnesses, like the elderly, newborns, and those living with compromised immune systems. Dr. Caldas tells WBSM's Phil Paleologos vaccination for the flu is important, even if you think you don't need it.

"If you think that you're young and healthy and you don't need the vaccine, then think about those around you. All of those high vulnerable groups," said Dr. Caldas. "All of those high vulnerable groups. Everyone knows someone who falls into one of those groups. So, if you don't want to protect yourself, please help protect those that you love."

Dr. Caldas says while the vaccination is only about 10% effective in other parts of the country, on the Southcoast it's shown approximately 30% effectiveness.

Dr. Caldas adds that one of the greatest defenses against the virus is good hygeine, and urges people to stock up on antibacterial hand sanitizers.

"The flu virus can actually stay on inanimate objects and live for hours, so you can actually catch it by touching items that someone else had touched and sneezed [on]."

Dr. Caldas advises that if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, don't go to work, and consult your primary care physician or visit an urgent care center.