64-year-old Alice Nunez rang in the New Year with symptoms nobody wants.

“I started getting chills and cold," said Nunez.

That was December 28 and still she can't shake the flu.

The Stockton School District police secretary was off work a week, but says she couldn't afford to take off more.

“Have you had the flu before? Not that I remember," she said.

So just how bad is it getting here?

St. Joseph's Hospital is seeing up to three times more cases of people with the flu than this time last year.

“In addition to the normal high volume that we see, we have definitely been feeling the stress and strain of the influenza this season," says Anitra Williams, Director of Nursing at St. Joseph's Hospital.

She says heading to the ER with the flu is not always the right thing to do.

“Just because you have flu like symptoms doesn't mean you need to come to your emergency room. Definitely if you feel ill for a couple of days you should seek, or go to your primary care physician and you know just be looked at or examined," says Williams.

How to avoid the flu?

Health officials encourage getting a flu shot, limiting contact with others who are sick, washing your hands often with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

As for Alice Nunez, she had not seen a doctor, but set an appointment.

Regarding a flu shot, she says she never believed in them.

But now?

“So would you recommend a flu shot to someone else who hasn't gotten it?" "Maybe.”