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Posted on 30. September 2021

Don’t Forget the Flu

By Abbie Cornett

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With everyone's attention focused on COVID -19 for almost two years, it's easy to forget it isn't the only virus out there. In fact, it's important to remember that the influenza (flu) virus is still out there, and it is still a serious threat to people's health, particularly those who suffer from an immune or autoimmune disease. Part of the reason concern over the flu has taken a back seat to COVID-19 is the remarkable lack of reported cases and deaths associated with it. Much of this can be attributed to people wearing masks and adhering to social distancing recommendations. However, with life returning to normal, this flu season will be more like the ones we are used to. So, the question is: How bad is this flu season predicted to be, and what should you do to protect yourself?

Well, to answer the first question, experts predict the 2021-2022 flu season could be a nasty one, especially for young kids as a result of dwindling population-level immunity from the relatively small 2020-2021 flu season during last winter's surge of COVID-19. 2 In the worst-case scenario, we will have to worry about a "twindemic" in which the seasonal flu and COVID-19 are both an issue.

The answer to the second question, how you protect yourself has not changed. If you are able, GET THE VACCINE! Experts widely agree that the single best way to protect yourself against getting the flu is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is appropriate for anyone 6 months and older who does not have a medical condition that prohibits them from getting the vaccine. In addition, the following precautions are recommended: 2

  • • Wash your hands. You should wash your hands using soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
  • • Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough.
  • • Avoid crowded areas.
  • • Don't touch your nose or mouth.
  • • Disinfect surfaces areas and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • • Wear a face mask while in public areas.
  • • Get enough sleep.
  • • Avoid close contact with people who you know are sick.

References:

1  IFLS. This Winter's Flu Season Could Be a Bad One, Experts Predict. Accessed at www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/this-winters-flu-season-could-be-a-bad-one-experts-predict
2  Prevention. The Flu: Everything You Must Know for the 20-21 Season. Accessed at www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a22813625/flu-symptoms-prevention.

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