This year's flu season is already underway and could be worse than in years past. But the good news is there are some steps you can take to try and bypass the bug.

Dr. Jeffrey Jahre over at St. Luke's has been an Infectious Disease Specialist for more than 40 years. He says the hospital started seeing the flu back in September, which is unusual.

"Although Pennsylvania as a whole has been reporting sporadic cases, we certainly are seeing an increase and widespread cases have been reported in Maryland which is not very far away," Jahre said.

Dr. Jahre says Australia got hit pretty hard this year which is usually an indicator with how things will go here in the states. But if you're looking for an exact science, good luck.

"The only thing that's predictable about influenza is that it's unpredictable and we have seen early seasons in the past," Jahre said.

The typical recipe Dr. Jahre says looks like this: Start with the change of seasons, especially into winter.

"The cold keeps people indoors and you're much more likely then to come in contact with other people on a regular basis," Jahre said.

He says that can lead to added stress and less sleep.

"Lack of sleep leads to a decreased immunity and increased susceptibility to infections," Jahre said.

So if you can turn down the stress and get some sleep it can help. But Dr. Jahre says nothing works as good as old reliable.

"Get the flu shot. I think that's the most important thing that people can do," Jahre said.

He says it takes about two weeks from the time you get the shot for it to start to do its job. But if you don't get it you could be sorry.

And some think you can resort to an antibiotic for a cure all but Dr. Jahre says not so fast. They're only good for bacterial and not viral infections.

In fact, if you get one and you don't need it it can do more harm than good because of the side effects and you'll build up resistance to the wrong stuff at the wrong time.