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What Can I Expect This Flu Season?

What Can I Expect This Flu Season?

With last year’s mild flu season – the lowest number cases and deaths on record since influenza reporting started in the 90s -- you may be wondering if you should even get the flu vaccine this year.

The record low was most likely because of people wearing masks and social distancing. But as a result, there’s a chance people didn’t get some of the natural immunity against influenza and that we could see a surge in flu cases compared to last year.

On average, flu season starts to pick up around October, and peaks between December through February. But there is some uncertainty on timing, much like the unexpected summer surge of RSV. Getting the flu shot now helps ensure that you’re covered if the season does ramp up early and gives you a good six months of protection into the spring.

Just like we have seen with COVID-19, people with certain underlying or chronic health conditions are more at risk to have serious complications from the flu. There’s also a chance that if you do get the flu this year, your symptoms could be worse because of a lack of exposure from last year.

Some of the symptoms of the flu and COVID are similar, and it is possible to get both at the same time. Your best protection against both is to get vaccinated, and you can get a flu shot and the COVID vaccine at the same time, whether it’s your first, second or third dose.

The flu shot is recommended for ages 6 months and older. It’s especially important for those 65 and older and those with common underlying conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Lauren Tillery, MD
Family Medicine
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Zachary 

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