By Juliette Goodrich

SAN RAMON (KPIX) — The California Department of Public Health says the winter flu season is off to its earliest start in 15 years.

Liz DeLong, a physician assistant at Instant Urgent Care in San Ramon, says don’t wait — the flu season has hit earlier than usual and the shot protects you and and those around you from getting sick. If you do contract the virus, you will likely experience fewer days of symptoms, which will also be less severe.

Besides getting immunized, you can also take other simple steps: Stay away from people who are sick, wash hands frequently with soap and warm water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Doctors say it takes a couple of weeks after the vaccination for the body to build immunity so they say don’t delay getting that shot.

Juliette Goodrich