ST. CLOUD -- While we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, local health officials are reminding you to not forget another illness that arrives this time of year.

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Flu season is quickly approaching and experts say it's important you and your family get a flu shot.

CentraCare Pediatrician Dr. Jill Amsberry says with the COVID-19 pandemic, this flu season could bring some challenges. She says with symptoms being similar, don't assume your kid just has the flu.

For children, COVID can look like anything from a mild cold to influenza. So it's important to talk with your primary care provider and get tested because you won't know if it is the flu or COVID unless you get tested.

Amsberry says getting a flu shot will help limit your chances of getting severely ill and keep our hospitals from being overrun with another illness.

She adds with people masking, students doing distance learning and recent data they've seen from other countries, there is some hope the flu season may not be as severe.

The data we've seen so far from Australia, the flu season was more mild this year. Not always, but often, the flu season in our area correlates with that. So we are hopeful we won't see as much influenza as maybe we do in other years.

Amsberry says to date they still have some kids behind on their routine checkups due to the pandemic, but encourages families to make an appointment to help their kids stay up to date on their vaccinations.

Due to the cold temps CentraCare is no longer offering drive-thru flu shots, but you can schedule an appointment via MyChart of by calling.