BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Flu cases statewide are spiking, impacting hospitals filled with cases of COVID-19 and RSV.

With mask mandates gone, holiday travel and gatherings, California is reporting some of the highest flu activity in the nation. According to Kern County Public Health, the surge is even impacting Kern County, which is reporting high flu levels.

“Flu is circulating at much higher rates than we’ve experienced in previous years,” said Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan.

It is taking a toll on hospitals like Adventist Health.

“Our emergency room has been really busy, and our flu floor in the hospital has been affected we have patients waiting for bed to be admitted so we have been very busy,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghassan Jamaleddine.

California does not require masking, but the state department of health suggests it as an effective way to prevent the spread of each rising virus. However, Carrigan shares that the best prevention starts with taking care of your overall health.

“The key solution for all of us this is for us to take a hard look at our overall health, we need to be exercising regularly, we need to be eating well, we need to be sleeping well, and all of that helps us boost our immunity,” said Carrigan.

If you are sick, Carrigan says it is important to: stay home, get vaccinated, wash your hands, wear a mask and cover your cough. Each preventative measure can help make a difference.

“We need to be employing all these preventative measures, we need to make sure we’re taking care of our bodies and being as healthy as possible, and we need to utilize the healthcare system in the most appropriate way,” said Carrigan.

Doing so increases the chances of slowing the spread and protecting the ones you love and the most vulnerable populations from contracting the virus.

For more ways to help protect against the flu and other virus, visit the CDC.