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Ready or not, flu is due for a comeback

Photo / Atrium Health

Sept. 23. Last year’s flu season was lighter than usual. But this year, experts warn that it could make a serious comeback.

Everyone 6 months and older should get their flu shot now. If you haven’t gotten the COVID‑19 vaccine or booster and are eligible, it’s safe to get both at the same time, according to Atrium Health.

This year, much like the last, COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened or lifted, kids are back in school  and many businesses and communities have returned to pre-pandemic activities.

“Children seem to have weathered COVID-19 easier, with fewer long-lasting issues and lower death rates than we’ve seen in adults but not every child has a mild case,” says Dr. Lyn Nuse, senior medical director of pediatric primary care at Atrium Health Levine Children’s.

Protect others

“The same goes for flu. Some kids can’t kick it quite like others—that’s who we need to get vaccinated for,” Nuse said.

As people re-emerge after two to three years without typical social interaction and exposure to circulating germs, their immunity to things like the flu may have been impacted.

Given these conditions, experts think we’re going to experience a more severe flu season this year compared to last.

Health officials keep a close eye on other countries, such as Australia, because their season is ahead of ours in the United States, according to Atrium.

And the data there isn’t a comforting prediction for us—Australia had its worst flu season in five years.

Keep in mind

—Both the flu and COVID-19 can spread before a person is symptomatic.

—They share many of the same symptoms, even the loss of taste and smell, although it’s more common with COVID-19.

—It’s possible to have them at the same time or with another respiratory illness.