MD- experts believe that this winter will be a bad flu season and with Covid cases still rising in the USA the winter months are expected to be very tough.
The USA is expected to experience a very bad flu season this winter and with Covid-19 still surging in different parts of the country, doctors are expecting a tough few months ahead. To prepare in advance, doctors are now asking people to get their annual flu vaccines.
A Bad Flu Season May Pair Up With Covid-19 This Winter
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking people to get their flu shot by the end of the month of October. Some doctors even recommend getting it earlier to stay as safe as possible.
Dr. Claudia Hoyen, Director for Pediatric Infection Control at Cleveland’s UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, explained that previous to the pandemic, doctors used to recommend getting the flu vaccine as late as possible in the year. But this year, because Covid-19 is expected to complicate the situation even further, doctors want patients to get their flu vaccines quicker. Dr. Hoyen believes that getting the flu vaccine in the fall will still be able to protect recipients for the entirety of the flu season.
Dr. Hoyen is also expecting a severe flu season this fall. This summer has already found more children infected with the virus at the UH Rainbow Hospital. Dr. Hoyen has also noticed that the mix of viruses among these children was much larger than in previous years.
Dr. Hoyen explains the situation by saying the as soon as US citizens started taking their masks off, the flu virus found a lot of hosts to infect.
According to CDC, influenza rates in the USA are not yet very high. Usually, CDC checks flu data from the southern hemisphere where the flu season is from June to August in order to predict the flu season’s severity in the USA.
A professor in the infectious diseases division of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. William Schaffner, claims that the flu season in the southern hemisphere this year has been very mixed. Australia has been under strict lockdown this year, without any contact with the outer world, so flu cases have been very limited. But in China, where restrictions have been relaxed a lot more, and contact with the outer world has begun, flu cases have been moderate. So Dr. Schaffner is expecting a moderate flu season this year.
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But Dr. Schaffner also warns that as more schools reopen this year, the flu virus could pick up the pace. Flu viruses usually use children as their distributing medium because children are not always the most hygienic and they also interact very closely with each other.
Another reason why school children are often the source of flu infections is the fact that it takes children a lot longer than adults to completely shed the virus. This means that each child carries and spreads the infection a lot longer than most adults.
Usually, the USA has 9 million to 45 million flu infections every year. But in 2020, with mask use and hygiene requirements being imposed everywhere flu cases were minimal. Only a few thousand cases were reported throughout the year and only one child had been lost to the virus. In comparison even in 2019, there had been 199 flu-related child deaths in the USA. But this year, as the US starts reopening and relaxing pandemic restrictions, doctors believe that the flu vaccine is becoming more important than ever before. CVS and Walgreen pharmacies have already started giving out flu vaccines. Dr. Schaffner suggests that everyone should get a flu vaccine this year, they can even get their Covid-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine all at the same time.
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